Help at home…
“The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”
–Anderson, Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985
- Be sure to read every night. One book, two books, more than that! You decide. Practice is absolutely necessary! Depending on the book your child is reading, he/she may read to you, or you could take turns reading aloud with your child.
- When reading with your child at home, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
Begin books by looking closely at them. Notice the cover illustrations, the author, and the illustrator. Are there any clues as to what the book will be about? Does the back of the book have any information to give the reader? Take a picture walk through SOME of the pages. Discuss what you both think might happen in the book
Stop every once and a while to ask your child to retell the story. He or she should have a picture of it in his/her mind. If it’s not clear that your child is understanding the story, backtrack, reread and discuss the story.
Stop every so often and ask your child to predict what might happen next. Make sure he has a reason for his thinking (Not just, “I think Goldilocks will like the little bed.” But, “I think Goldilocks will like the Little Bear’s bed because she is little too, and she liked his porridge and his little chair.).
Encourage your child to ask questions while you read.
After reading a story or chapter, stop and have a conversation about the book. What did you like/dislike? Did it remind you of another book or a time in your life? Why do you think the characters acted the way that they did? And so on.
- When your child stumbles (or stops) at an unknown word, it’s best to not just tell what the word is or to say simply, “Sound it out.” Try using the following prompts instead:
Get your mouth ready to say that word.
Does that word look like any other word that you do know?
Is there a chunk of the word that you do know?
What word would make sense there?
Do the letters match?
- Have fun and be a model. Show your child that reading is important to you and your lifestyle. Talk, talk, talk, and listen, listen, listen about books and life. Oral language adds immensely to your child’s vocabulary and fluency development.