Friday, 13 November 2015

Strategies to teach your child to read - Part 1

I met my youngest son's teacher today at the Parent-Teacher meeting.  It was a fruitful conversation learning how my son is doing in school.  Alexus is turning 7 this month and I am so proud to receive the teacher's report that Lex' reading is excellent, Level S or DRA 34 Lexile 750.  I don't know what all these meant but I was so happy to hear that his reading is advanced, even more advanced for ages 8-9. I am so thankful that my kids love reading and I hope they will continue to read real books even with ebooks and electronic information are available online.

I want to share the tips I used to encourage my children to read.  Children are never too early to read and we as parents can help them become proficient in reading as soon as they recognize our voice and read our lips.

1. Read to your child everyday.
Reading aloud builds positive attitudes toward reading, stimulates interest in books and exposes your child to a variety of reading materials. This should be a fun, relaxing time for you and your child. This is our family bonding time before we read God's word and do our family prayer and devotion.  Kids look forward to each night's reading time.

2. Visit the library weekly.
We do it at least every three weeks because that is the maximum number of weeks we can get hold of the books we borrowed.  On the way to the library, I am asking them what they plan to borrow.  Are they going to get the same author (our favorite is Robert Munsch)?  or get the next the series (Geronimo Stilton, Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid etc.)?  Get many different varieties of topics: mysteries, nonfiction, science fiction, animals, poems, rhymes, etc.  You and your child may go to the library with no plan in mind and pick out whatever interests you as you browse.

3. Look for accessible materials.
Help your child see that reading is found in every aspect of our lives,  help them read to you the recipe as you cook or bake together.  Read all the boxes and labels as you shop together. Have you child find signs as you travel somewhere, or when you are in a mall or a restaurant.

4. Have your child read to you everyday.
Children need positive feedback and genuine interest from their parents about their reading abilities. Be excited to hear your child read to you everyday.  Sometimes you child may choose a book that is much too difficult but has beautiful pictures.  Instead of reading, have him or her tell you about the pictures using as many details as they can.

5. Share book talks.
After you have read a story aloud or your child has completed an independent reading assignment, have him do a retelling of the read aloud or reading assignment. Retelling helps children review and organize the book. Listen for the following: Does the retelling makes sense? Have your child used the same story language and pattern from the book? Do you have questions?  you can use the following:
-What was your favourite part? why?
-What didn't you like? Why?
-What would you have done? Why?

I hope you can benefit from these because I did. My 3 children are worthy of these and the time spent on reading has paid off.  The return on this investment is long term.  Happy reading.

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