Ways to support your child's reading life
In order to gain confidence and fluency in reading I am asking that your child read for at least 15 minutes, every evening at home. Please take time to read
- To your child,
- With your child, or listen to your child read.
- By themselves.
Here are some suggestions to help your child when they are having difficulty reading by themselves.
- As you read, point to each word to make the oral language and print connection.
- Give a few seconds of wait time to see what attempts are made.
- Ask what would make sense in that sentence.
- Use picture clues.
- Skip the word and come back.
- Go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again.
- Tell the word and go on.
Please record books read on the log in their Monday Folder each week.
Ways to support your child’s writing life
- Ask your child to tell you stories, and help them structure the stories into a beginning, middle, and end format. Your interest will inspire him/her to want to add the details that make it a story, and telling stories is an important precursor to writing stories.
- Tell your child stories–ones from your childhood, ones from your days– He/she will love hearing about your life, and listening to stories will help develop the understanding of how to tell stories.
- Share any form of writing you do with your child–lists, notes, letters–they all help children realize the importance of writing.
- Give your child opportunities to tell you about what they know. If your child is an expert at Legos, encourage him/her to tell you about it. The more organized the explanation, the better, as this practice will help him/her develop informational writing pieces.
- Encourage your child to persuade or argue with reasons and evidence. Need a new pair of shoes? Convince me! Why do you need a new pair of shoes, and how can you tell? What will happen if you don’t get a pair of new shoes? How will your life improve? This sounds silly, but this type of thinking and speaking will dramatically help your child when s/he’s learning to write opinion pieces.
- Point out the revision process in anything you do together. If you are building blocks, sometimes, you make a different decision about the foundation. If you are cooking, you might add more salt. If you are painting a picture, you might need to start over. These are revision decisions that build flexibility of thought and are critical for writers of all ages and stages.
You are your child's model. Read. Read more. Stop and gasp when you read something beautiful. Stop and laugh when you read something funny. Stop and groan when you read something goofy. Your child will pick up on craft moves and amaze you because they will show up in his/her writing. Make the question “How did the writer do that?” part of your repertoire as you read with your child.
Homework for Parents
Kids who thrive in school have parents who support learning at home. Here's what you can do:
- Make it clear that it is important to your family that effort is put into doing well in school. Good grades are welcome, but hard work is just as valued.
- Track progress and ask questions. Not: How was school? (answer: Fine.) Rather: What did you study in science today? (Answer: a conversation about what they're learning.)
- Provide a quiet space, interruption-free space for kids to do homework. Elementary-schoolers can work supervised at the kitchen table; middle-schoolers can experiment working solo.
- Keep plenty of reading material in the house, and make sure your children sees you reading for work and pleasure.
(USA Weekend - Aug. 10-12, 2012)