Reading Tips: A Guide for Parents K-3 (page 2)
Reading: A Good Habit to Support
- Set aside time each day for you and your child to read together- - even if all you have is ten minutes. The important thing is that reading happens regularly and is a positive experience. If your own reading skills are limited, consider contacting a family literacy program such as a Parent Resource Center, an Even Start Program, or a local GED program.
- Tell family stories or folktales to your child or make up stories of your own.
- Ask a librarian for picture books and books on tape that you can share with your child.
- Set a good example. Let your child see that you enjoy reading books, newspapers, and magazines as a routine part of your day. Develop a home library.
- Read books over and over and over again. Your child needs the repetition and needs to hear a fluent reader read.
- Talk to your child about the pictures and characters in books and ask questions about the story.
- Provide new experiences for your child. If you are going on a trip, reading the map together ahead of time can be fun. If you are planning a birthday party, together you can choose games or plan refreshments.
- Link reading to real life. Follow your child’s interests, especially if he/she is “turned off” to reading. Seek out reading materials that are tuned into his/her interests.
- Connect your child with his/her grandparents and great-grandparents.
- Encourage them to read books together, talk about growing up, tell stories, and sing songs from their generation.
- Help your child become a more fluent reader by having him/her read to younger brothers and sisters.
Ways You Can Help Your Child Become a Reader
- Visit the library often. Make sure your child has a library card.
- Include your child in family conversations and listen to what he/she has to say. Being listened to builds a child’s self-esteem and helps him/her learn.
- Read aloud to your child. Verbal expression helps with vocabulary development which is an important aspect of learning to read.
- Provide opportunities for sharing information and learning about your child’s interests and feelings.
- Verbal expression leads to language development, an important aspect of learning to read.
- Play with words by rhyming, finding opposites, and naming synonyms or words that have the same meanings like “big” and “large”. These types of activities give practice with thinking and vocabulary development.
- Check on your child’s progress in reading and ask the teacher about ways you can help.
- Play games with your child that involve reading and thinking about words.
- Make a grocery list with your child. Allow your child to find items in the grocery store and cross them off the list. Together, read labels, ingredients, and compare prices during the shopping trip.
- Have your child read schedules such as those for TV, buses, trains, etc.
- Link movies and television shows to books you have read together.
- Encourage your child to look up phone numbers in the phone book. Show him/her how to locate a business number by its category or by its name.
- Give gifts that encourage reading and writing: reading lamps, magazine subscriptions, books, stationery, pens, and blank books.
- Discuss your child’s reading accomplishments and praise him/her often.
- Make thank you notes, birthday cards, and invitations together. Allow your child to be creative in designing and writing.
#1 Reading Tip for Parents: Encourage Reading
Encouraging your child to read is the most important thing you can do to insure your child’s school success. You can help make reading fun, interesting, exciting, and important to your child.
- Take your child to the library often. The library is free and has a large selection of books.
- Read aloud to your child everyday. When you read aloud from a variety of books, your child hears new words, learns that stories have a beginning, middle and an end, reading is fun, and is something you value. Most importantly, reading aloud is something that you and your child are sharing in a special way.
- Listen to your child read aloud everyday. Talk to your child about book characters, what happened in the book, and what he/she liked best about the book.
- Be a reading role model. Make sure your child sees you reading.
- Have reading material in your home such as newspapers, magazines, books, and catalogs.
- Read with your child in unusual places such as under a tree, in the park, in a tent, under the kitchen table, or in a dark room with a flashlight.
- Involve the whole family in reading books (or parts of books) aloud to each other.
The Five Essential Components of Reading
Reading with children and helping them practice specific reading components can dramatically improve their ability to read. Scientific research shows that there are five essential components of reading that children must be taught in order to learn to read.
- Phonemic Awareness - Recognizing and using individual sounds to create words. Children need to be taught to hear the individual sounds in words. They should be taught that words are made up of small parts of sound called phonemes.
- Phonics - Understanding the relationships between written letters and spoken sounds. Children need to be taught the sounds associated with individual printed letters and groups of letters. Knowing the relationships between letters and sounds helps children to recognize familiar words accurately and automatically, and "decode" new words.
- Reading Fluency - Developing the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. Children must learn to read words rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is read. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. When fluent readers read aloud, they read effortlessly and with expression. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word,
focusing on decoding words instead of comprehending meaning.
- Vocabulary Development - Children need to actively build and expand their knowledge of written and spoken words, what they mean and how they are used. As children learn new word meanings or pronunciations, vocabulary is also developing.
- Reading Comprehension - Acquiring strategies to understand, remember, and communicate what is read. Children need to be taught comprehension strategies, or the steps good readers use to make sure they understand text. Students who are in control of their own reading comprehension become purposeful, active readers.
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