Learning to read can be a crazy roller coaster ride of ups and downs for first graders. It’s an adventure…and an undertaking, too. But most importantly, it’s a meaningful and exciting trip that you can take with your first grader.
So give your young reader the support and motivation he needs to keep on reading. Set a reasonable weekly reading goal for your child—perhaps 4 to 5 books a week—and then give your child lots of encouragement to help him reach that goal. Here’s a little bag of tricks with some ways you can show your support and create memorable connections to reading!
What You Do:
- Set a weekly reading goal for your child. In first grade, five books a week is a great goal. This includes books he reads to you or with you, and books you read to him, too.
- Encourage your child to reach his goal throughout the week. When he is successful in reaching his goal, reward him with a trip to the "Reading is Rewarding" Kit. The "Reading is Rewarding" Kit is a baggie full of goodies that helps to reinforce the value of reading with tangible and rewarding connections. Here’s a sampling of what you might want to include in the bag, and the meaning of each item:
- a package of markers, because reading leaves its mark
- compass or a book of maps, because reading can really take you places
- a piece of candy, because there’s nothing sweeter than a good story
- a bouncy ball, because reading is a ball!
- a sticker, because once you learn to read, it really sticks with you
- a magic spring (“Slinky”), because reading stretches your imagination
- a packet of seeds, because reading helps your mind to grow, grow, grow
- a small pencil sharpener, because reading keeps our brains sharp
- a glow bracelet or flashlight, because reading makes us brighter
- a set of batteries for the flashlight, because reading is powerful
- a pair of sunglasses, because reading helps us to see the world in different ways
- any other item you can think of that your child would enjoy that can be connected in some way to reading
When your child picks an item from the bag, explain its symbolic relation to reading books and discuss with your child some of the books that he read during the week.
By the time the bag is empty, your child will have read loads of books, which means he’s well on his way to building excellent reading habits and becoming a great reader! Now, perhaps he can help you think of other items to fill a new bag for a younger brother or sister!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading instructor.