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.
Asking questions is under-rated! If you have a child who asks questions, encourage it and foster it. If they are conditioned to wonder about things it will make their school experience all the more rich and rewarding. A child who asks questions is engaged. Engagement is the most important thing for learning to occur (in my handbook). So the next time your child comes home from school (whether it be pre-school or college) instead of asking them what they learned that day, ask them if they asked a good question today!
Speaking of questions, here are some ideas for using questioning to engage your early reader.
- Questioning before, during and after reading does many things for the reader including
- Promotes curiosity and engagement
- Encourages Wonder
- Uses Imagination
- Grows a critical reader
Steps to Using Questioning with your Reader:
Look at the cover of the book together, noticing as many details as possible. Ask what questions they may have in looking at the cover. Generate some yourself such as “I wonder what happens to the girl on the cover.”, “ I wonder why she is holding books and pulling a wagon.”, “I wonder why people risk their lives to climb Mount Everest.” “I wonder what the problem in this story will be.” etc…
Encourage your child to stop and wonder during reading, asking as many questions as they may wonder. Jump in and do this yourself.
Think about what questions you may ask the author about the book.
Remember, some questions will be answered, some will not.
We have had a lot of quality reading time here in the Blizzard Belt lately! It seems like the snow will just not go away. We add even a few more inches of snow today! However, I do remember how gorgeous spring is for all of my senses when it arrives. There is a light at the end of the tunnel at this point and I believe Tuxapawnee Phil can back me up on that one.
In the meantime, with many more snow bound hours of reading ahead of us, here are a few more suggestions for reading time with your young one from www.essortment.com I can’t help but see how they all apply for a great Be There Bedtime Story reading experience as well. Making the most of your reading time helps grow that reader of yours!
· Before reading a particular book to your child, be sure to read it through once to yourself. This way, you can identify areas you might want to concentrate on later when you read it aloud.
· Be enthusiastic as you read. Show excitement, point to illustrations, and let your tone change with the story. It’s fun to give the characters different voices, too. Make sure to give your child time to look at the pictures and ask questions. When words or phrases are repeated in a story, encourage your child to say them.
· After you’re finished reading, discuss the book with your child. Find parallels between experiences in the book and those in your child’s life to add greater depth and meaning to the story.
At the same time, make it simple both for yourself and the lucky person who gets to hear the story. If you can’t incorporate all three strategies above, focus on just one! The payoff is huge!
Greetings fellow storybook lovers!
After both receiving and sending a number of Be There Bedtime Stories with the webcam, I have learned a lot of things myself about the process. I would like to share a couple big ones.
It all started with a couple stories from grandma and Aunt Ali. It didn’t take long before my 6 year old wanted to read a story back to grandma and grandpa and then aunts and uncles too. Now they had the joy of seeing their first granddaughter/neice reading to THEM! Building quality family experiences around literacy is such a powerful thing to be doing for my children.
I received my Masters in Teaching 15 years ago and have taught in elementary schools for more than 10 years (taking a few years off in the middle there to start my family). I am now working towards my endorsement as a reading specialist in the state of Illinois and so it goes without saying that I see the educational value in Be There Bedtime Stories as well as the warm and fuzzy one!
In the upcoming weeks I will continue to post to this blog, highlighting the value of sharing this literacy experience with family regularly. I hope you enjoy this blog and feel compelled to share some of your own experiences in literacy!