In the words of Mark Twain: “The man who doesn’t read is no better off than the man who can’t read.” The same is true of kids. Today, many kids are so plugged-in and over-scheduled, they have little time to simply kick back and lose themselves in a good book. But there's good news, too: third grade is a key time to hook a reader for life.
Parents can help kids work on their reading, while keeping things fun, with an activity that turns a pile of books into a game of prediction.
What You Need:
- a stack of index cards
- your local library
What You Do:
- Go to the library and choose three books your child has never read. These should be fiction, not non-fiction.
- Using the markers, write the numbers 0-10, one per card. (These are your Prediction Challenge cards.) Put 10 empty cards from the rest of the stack on the table and place the pen beside them.
- Invite your child to play a game. The object? You'll choose a number from 1-10 and give her a "prediction challenge" card, then let her choose one of the books you've checked out of the library. She must try to guess what happens in the story without reading the full book. Here's how it works: your child reads the first chapter (or several chapters, but not more than half of the total number of pages), then writes ten predictions as to what may happen in the story-- one on each index card. Once she's finished writing up her predictions, you'll read the rest of the book together and see how many come to fruition. If she meets or exceeds the challenge number, she wins!
- The more your reluctant reader reads, the more she'll enjoy it. And the more fun you make it, the more tempting reading will be. So add some game to the equation. Making predictions about what comes next in a story is a major component of the third grade reading curriculum. Plus, when your child reads often, she'll read better, and she'll meet those state reading standards lickety-split!
Jacquie McTaggart taught lower elementary children in Minnesota and Iowa public schools for more than four decades. She is the author of From the Teacher's Desk, a humorous book about parenting practices that help a child become the best he can be.