Literacy Matters

May - June 2015

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Ways Parents Can Promote Reading at Home

As a parent, you are your child's first - and most important - teacher. Here are ways you can help your child become a better reader.

1. Let Your Child see you reading Your actions really do speak louder than your words. When your kids see you reading the newspaper or curling up with a book, they will want to follow your example.

2. Make sure your children read every day Reading - like shooting baskets and playing the piano - is a skill. Like other skills, it gets better with practice. Researchers have found that children who spend at least 30 minutes a day reading for fun - whether they read books, newspapers, or magazines - develop the skills to be better readers at school.

3. Read aloud to the children
Research shows that this is the most important thing parents can do to help their children become better readers. Here are some tips:

  • Start reading to your children when they are young.
  • Don't stop reading to your children as they grow older. You will both enjoy the chance to do something together.
  • Set aside some time each day for reading aloud. Even 10 minutes a day can have a big impact. Bedtime is a natural reading aloud time.

4. To encourage your child to read, try a scavenger hunt! Give your child a list of things to find in today's newspaper. Here are some ideas:

  • A map of the United States.
  • A picture of your child's favorite athlete.
  • The temperature in the city where a family member lives.
  • Three words that begin with "w".
  • A movie that is playing at a nearby theater.

5. What’s “Just Right”? - Children feel confident and competent when they read books that are “just right.” But how do you find a “just right” book? Have your child read the back and front cover, and first page of the book. If there are more than five words that he cannot pronounce or understand in context, the book may be too challenging. Be supportive about finding a more perfect fit. Choosing the right book will help your little reader feel successful.

6. Map it Out - It’s important to provide your child with a variety of fiction and non-fiction reading. A fun way to do this is to get a map and show them the way from your house to the grocery store or another familiar destination. Have your child write out the directions, street by street, and then read them to you as you walk or drive to the store – like a living GPS!

7. Comprehension -There are many comprehension strategies that can be used to support readers at home. If a child is struggling they need direct support, explicit instruction, lots of practice, guidance, and many opportunities to experience success.

These are some strategies to utilize:

-Pre-Reading – The process of skimming a text to locate key ideas before reading a text (or a chapter of a text) from start to finish.

This strategy helps provide an overview that can increase reading speed and efficiency. Prereading typically involves looking at and thinking about titles, chapter introductions, summaries, headings, subheadings, study questions, andconclusions. This will help activate schema (prior knowledge) of the topic so that your child will be more successful at comprehending the text.

-Predicting - Using titles, pictures, or key words, students attempt to predict the content of a text. When the student reads the text, they make comparisons to what they predicted and what they read. Ask your child to predict what will happen next, and to explain their thinking.

-Making Connections – Children make personal connections with the text by using their schema (prior knowledge). There are 4 main types of connections we make while reading.

*Text-to-Self: Connections made between the text being read and the reader’s personal experience.

*Text-to-Text: Connections made between the text being read to a text that was previously read.

*Text-to-World: Connections made between a text being read and something that occurs in the world.

*Text-to-Media: Connection made between a text being read and something that have seen on television, in a movie, a cell phone app, or the internet.

-Re-Reading - Re-reading is a deliberate attempt to find information. With a specific question in mind, students will look for relevant sections of the text to re-read. Once they zero in on a relevant section, they usually read a few sentences or paragraphs before and a few sentences or paragraphs after. Sometimes, it is necessary to re-read the entire text to get the desired information.

-Re-Stating - This strategy encourages students to look at main ideas. They re-state what they read in a shorter version. Sometimes this strategy involves restricting how long the summary can be. For example, can you re-state the description of predicting in only two words?

-Take Turns Reading- This will allow your child the opportunity to hear the inflections that may enhance a story or help clear up any confusion. You child will begin to model reading after listening to how a story can be read and become more fluent.

-Using Context Clues- If your child seems to get hung up on words or phrases while reading, ask them to think about what they have already read and use that knowledge to help figure out the word or phrase.

-Characterization- Tell your child that you're going to read the story together again. This time, you will think about what the characters see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and their feelings in the story (do the feelings change or stay the same).

*As you read, be aware of descriptive words that explain the characters' experiences, the setting, and if anything is happening (such as a problem).

*Pause to talk about those questions with your child.

8. Picture This! During your next outing or gathering, take action-packed photos, then have your child create captions to go with each picture. Assemble the pictures and captions in a picture book or album, and add speech and thought bubbles to create a personalized – and probably hysterical -- graphic novel.

9. Last Comic Standing Take time to read comic strips together. Share favorites from your own childhood and have your child put his favorites on the fridge. Read them aloud, and often -- repetition is a great way to build reading skills. Soon, he’ll love looking forward to the “Sunday funnies” each week.

10. Become a Fan Your child will soon develop a love for particular authors and illustrators. Nurture her fan-ship by helping her write a letter to her favorite author. Many authors have their own websites with contact information, but here’s a great place to start your search ( You can also contact the book’s publisher, the mailing address for which can often be found on the back of the title page or on the publisher’s Web site.

11. Label Fun Word recognition and vocabulary are important parts of reading. On a rainy day, get some paper and tape and start labeling everything in your home -- from furniture to small knick-knacks. Reading these labels repeatedly will build your child’s mental word bank. If your family is bilingual, create labels in both languages.

12. Give books as gifts. Then find a special place for your children to keep their own library.

13. Make reading a privilege.
Say, "You can stay up 15 minutes later tonight if you read in bed." Or you might say, "Because you helped with the dishes, I have time to read you an extra story."

14. If you are not a good reader, you can still encourage your children.
As your children learn to read, ask them to read to you. Talk about the books your children have read. Ask a friend or relative to read aloud to your children.

Summer Reading Lists

Are you wanting ideas on how to promote reading over the summer? This a great place to get summer reading list and more!


Websites for Kids

Free Learning Websites

You can help your student/child extend their learning and integrate technology with these safe, fun and educational websites!

{Grades K-2}

{Grades 3-5}


Research on Teaching Reading Comprehension

Instruction or Assessment?

Delicate Balance: Managing the Needs of ELL students

Melissa Curtis

Please email me if you there is anything you would like to see in the next News Letter.

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