7th and 8th Grade Reading: What to Expect (page 2)

7th and 8th Grade Reading: What to Expect

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Updated on Jan 22, 2008


How to read:. Expect the term “independent reading”—it appears on lots of state lists, but in plain terms it means this: as much as possible, kids should be able to read effectively without an adult standing by. Don’t worry—you can still help, a lot. Above all, don’t push books that are way past a child’s comfort level. You may think you’re challenging kids, but when they’re reading on their own, they’ll just get frustrated. At school, teachers will introduce kids to more challenging forms of text, especially in social studies and science. At home, push for smooth reads that a child will enjoy, and which will lead to an appetite for more and more. It’s like building up muscles in track or swimming: the more you do it, the faster and better you’ll get.


What to watch for: Because kids are asked to do so much more on their own, you may discover some gaps in reading ability you hadn’t expected. If your child seems bored and turned off - not just by one particular book, but by reading in general - tell your teacher immediately. Back in the early grades, kids learned how to translate concrete things into abstract print. Now, they need to be able to go the other way: from abstract print to clear “mental movies” of stuff they’ve often never seen. If your seventh or eighth grader struggles, it’s never too late to intervene. Your child may have learning differences which will only get worse; or she may simply have missed a stage, only nobody realized it. This is a job for reading specialists at your school. Don’t hesitate to seek their help.


Even if your seventh or eighth grader rarely even seems to look your way, you can be sure that your actions, as a parent, are all being noticed. Don’t hesitate to show interest in your child’s curriculum. Demonstrate that you’re willing to help, and model your own good reading habits. You’ll be sending positive messages about good lifetime reading habits and about your belief in your child as a learner. It may take years, but eventually your kid will thank you.

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