• Helping your child become a BETTER reader!

    Posted by Jennifer Lovvorn Parker on 8/5/2014 12:30:00 PM
    As an elementary school teacher, I am asked the same question year after year. How can I help my child with his reading? It’s something of a struggle for many parents, but there are some simple things you can do at home to help your little one improve.
    1.  Nothing replaces the practice of reading every day at home. If you don’t already, it’s not too late. You simply cannot leave it to the classroom teacher to get your child to read. It’s a skill that is truly best learned at home, snuggled up together with a book and plenty of time. I know you have heard it before, but make it part of your everyday routine. It will easily become something your child looks forward to if you make it a special time for the two of you together.
    2. As you read together, discuss the storyline, pictures, characters. Predict what you think will happen next. Talk about any prior knowledge you have that relates to the story. Retell the story, including the beginning, middle, and end.
    3. Make frequent library visits, but rather than checking out twenty books at a time, let your child pore over the shelves to pick out just a couple of books, perhaps one fiction and one nonfiction. Short chapter books are great to read aloud together, with you and your child taking turns. Check out series books too. If your child seems to be checking out the same book over and over again, that’s ok! You may want to go ahead and buy that one from a bookstore, but reading a book time and time again is really fine. It’s not holding him back, it just means he really likes that one!
    4. Get a reading list from your school or library. Libraries generally keep lists for all the surrounding schools, and you can make a copy for your own use. You don’t have to adhere strictly to it, but it will help give you an idea of your child’s reading level. There will probably be some books on the list that you’ve never heard of, but give them a try! Let your child scan the list to see what seems interesting to her.
    5. Reading aloud gives you a chance to see how accurate your child’s reading is. Reading together affords you an opportunity to discuss the book together, which will let you know how much your child is actually comprehending. From there you can determine if your child needs easier or slightly harder books to read. If you’re not sure, err on the side of easy to get started. First and second graders (and older children too!) still like picture books, and why not! They’re fun, colorful, short, and easy to read.
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