Aunt Ali reads aloud with Cassie and Abby.
I recently read an article on how important it is for teachers to read and write alongside our students. We work to make both processes seem natural and something they will do for the rest of their lives and not just inside of a classroom. I am always thinking aloud while I read with my middle school students. I will stop and say things like “that doesn’t make sense, let me go back and re-read that” or “that didn’t sound right, I need to try that again”. Because this happens in our real-world reading we need to make sure students see that reading is not about calling out words perfectly but about reading so that it makes sense for us.
This article parlays perfectly into the reading done with any child of any age. While it is important for children to hear a model of good fluency, it is also important to draw back the curtain at times to show them the thinking that is going on behind the reading. Done in moderation, this kind of modeling is a simple but important part of reading to a child. It is a powerful way to get children to see the thinking that goes on behind calling out the words.
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.