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!
Ahhh, summer vacation is here and my good friend and neighbor suggested something brilliantly simple (which are my favorite kind of brilliant ideas). She is reading every morning during summer break with her daughter for 30 minutes. They each read what they like but they do it together. She calls it a reading club. She then invited my two daughters and me to join them periodically to briefly talk about what they are reading, report on if they are enjoying it and why. Then we just read together. Silently, but together.
This can help to accomplishes so many reading goals I can’t even name them all, but let me just mention two biggies.
First of all it gets kids to realize that reading can be a social activity. For many kids it puts an extra incentive to read because they look forward to discussing what they are reading with friends. Hmmm, this sounds remarkably how I came to be a reader myself in my mid twenties. Can you say ‘book club’? That is what drew me to reading. It was not sitting at a desk in a classroom filling out answer sheets about what I just read. That much I know is true.
The Second goal this little summer book club accomplishes is that it gets kids to begin thinking critically about what they read. I happen to know that this is a strand of the new Common Core Reading Standards that the majority of states in our nation are being asked to teach to. This particular strand begins in Kindergarten and goes up through High School. In a nutshell, the standard asks that students to “compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the name of the book and state an opinion or preference about the book.” Again, they begin this in kindergarten!
So there you have it. A simple, cheap, brilliantly social activity to do this summer with your children of any reading age!
1. Have Repetition and Be Predictable: Do you remember how smart you felt, as a kid, when you figured out what was going to happen next in a story? With toddlers, it’s important to include books that contain repetitions, as they mature, add predictable and rhyming books. Read stories again and again. Your toddler enjoys repetition and it helps them become familiar with the way stories are organized.
2. Use Expressions & Rhymes: The beauty of reading with children is that you won’t be reading to a peanut gallery of harsh critics – release your inhibitions! Read with expression using different voices for different characters. This change in tone can help keep the child engaged and also teaches the art of storytelling – which is one of the benefits of our hands-free video storytelling platform! Toddlers also love rhythms and rhymes in stories, give them opportunities throughout the story to repeat rhyming phrases. Better yet, add a tune to it.
3. Have Child Repeat: Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it and
encourage them to ask questions. Provide models of interesting questions and examples of possible answers. “I wonder where they are going to next? I think the bear will trip in the rock because he is not paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?”. Also encourage your child to make paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?”. Also encourage your child to make up next steps in the story, such as- “what would you like to see happen next”? This is the spark that storytelling causes in an imagination!
4. Make it a Routine/Habit: Make reading a habit for bedtime, after lunch, or after naptime. Research abounds on the benefits of daily reading for a child’s foundation of literacy for life. Combine reading with an encounter with relatives that are distant for uber-enhanced bonding! Bedtime stories happen every night, so pick one night a week and your child will begin to look forward to this reading time on the computer (or tablet) – as will the family member committed to this time with the child. You can even calendar the reading day so that they know when it is coming. Have them put stickers on each reading day so they can see when it is happening. Kids often approach the habit of reading as a chore, so by integrating it with computer privileges makes it cool and the storytelling dynamic teaches them about creativity.that has
Here is a question for you. What level of text is best for
students to read for getting better at reading? Here are your choices: text
that is challenging, text that is comfortable and easy, or text that is
somewhere in between. The answer is comfortable, easy text.
Whether your child is in kindergarten or high school, research
has shown (and common sense dictates), children will benefit from reading
continuous text regularly. Anytime you work to acquire a skill, regular
practice helps get you those skills. Think of it as doing laps!
Another important thing to keep in mind is to give your
child choice in what they are reading. Giving students the power of choosing
what they read is a motivator. They
will hone their reading skills whether they are reading a textbook or a comic
book or anything in between. It is important to make sure they are successful
with the text (it should be easy and comfortable for them). Leave the difficult and challenging text in
the classroom where teachers can help them negotiate the skills and new
knowledge that challenging text demands.