This week I am turning my blog temporarily over to a guest blogger. Before I do, I want to remind everyone that writing is reading. The act of writing and revising requires reading and thinking. What a great way to grow your literacy! Blogging can be one way to allow kids to practice their literacy, and it is fun too! I have included a website that is helpful if you are going to blog with your child: http://www.blog-connection.com/blogs-kids.htm
So, with no further ado, here is my guest blogger.
I’m Laura’s daughter, Abby. I am 9 years old. I’m in third grade. I recommend you go to MY blog, crazycat101. The blog address is: http://catcrazy101.wordpress.com/
My blog is about cats and all the funny stuff they do. Leave a comment or follow me and tell me if your cat does anything funny or weird. Sometimes I will post about other stuff too so please check it out!
Just when you thought all the reasons to read were on the table, here come some more! The feast of reading includes acquiring grammar, vocabulary and strong writing skills. As a matter of fact, according to decades of research, we gain the majority of our vocabulary knowledge and grammar skills through the act of reading and not by worksheets, dictionaries or sentence creations with random vocabulary words. This is busy work that does not ‘stick’ and is soon lost after it is practiced.
Reading is biology, much like how we acquired our language skills. It is the act of immersing someone in another language when they begin to acquire it. The same is true for reading and literacy. Students who read a lot are typically better at grammar use, creative writing, have larger vocabularies and therefore can comprehend what they read in an easier fashion. Reading trumps worksheets and rote drill work any day. If you have school age children, k-12, make sure the teacher is giving your child the time to read EVERY DAY in class. This is critical in practicing their direct instruction from that day. It then goes without saying those same students should have the opportunity to read something of their choice at home EVERY NIGHT.
Consider a reading resolution for this year! I might suggest to you to make reading nonfiction to/with your children a priority. By nonfiction here I mean an informational text that might be on a specific topic such as dinosaurs, pets, Mexico (the list is endless).
Astro the Steller Sea Lion / Sylvan Dell Publishing on BeThereBedtimeStories.com
Chances are teachers in your child’s school have shifted to make sure your child is reading more nonfiction due to the fact that it is part of the Common Core State Standards to make students College and Career Ready. Think about it. How much literature do you read on your job or in college? On the other hand, how much informational text (nonfiction) is required of us in our jobs or in our college classrooms? While reading and reflecting on good literature is an important part of a reading diet, nonfiction has been neglected for too long, especially in our primary grades. So this year when you snuggle up with your child to share in a good book, pick a nonfiction text that may be of interest to your youngster!
Anyone get a fluency reading score coming home from school for their school-age child recently? You may have recently received a report that gives a single number which represents the number of words your child read in one minute. Anyone wondering why we are timing our students to see how many words they can read in one minute?
I have very mixed feelings about these fluency scores and the message they send to our students. After all, why would we want to teach our kids to read as fast as they can? This flies in the face of everything I know as a reading specialist. However, there are a two redeeming things about these fluency scores. The first is they are quick and easy to give. Schools are desperately looking for data these days to drive instruction, and when you are talking about giving assessments to hundreds of kids multiple times a year, it gets complicated. The second reason is that research shows that a fluency score is one (albeit ONLY one), indicator of future success as a reader.
I have sat and given hundreds of these assessments for the past couple years and here is one thing I know. There are students that have beautiful command of the text, with perfect tone and pace that sound much better than students who race through the text meaninglessly and end up with a higher fluency score. I just wish they wouldn’t call it a fluency score. Speed is only one small part of fluency and that message is unfortunately lost on many students who are simple being asked to read fast.
By the way, how do you improve your child’s fluency? Two simple things. Have them read often and make time to read aloud TO them to give them that model of fluency. Time for bedtime story!