Reading Educational Resources
Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Read Better
Research shows that parent and family involvement is a key ingredient that contributes to students’ success in education in general (Henderson 1988) and reading in particular (Postlethwaite & Ross 1992). Research also shows that students who read the most do best in school.
- Talk to your child about all the ways reading is used in life.
- Model reading in free time to your child. Let them see that you find pleasure in reading. Talk about cool things that you’re reading or have read.
- Read out loud to your child.“A Read Aloud offers students the opportunity to ‘take a look inside’ the reading of an expert and understand that, first and foremost, reading is language and should sound like it! Teachers’ or parents’ oral reading becomes the model that students strive to achieve.” Add drama by creating different voices for the characters, pause dramatically, and vary the pitch, volume, phrasing, and rate. (Opitz, M, 1998. Good-bye, Round-Robin. Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishers, p. 49.)
- Share a book together. Side-by-side reading can be handled in many ways but it is always beneficial. You read a page, he/she reads a page. Read at the same time (choral type reading) pointing to the words as they are reading. Research by Topping in 1987 showed, that both comprehension and word recognition increased remarkably when children read routinely with parents. (Opitz, M, 1998. Good-bye Round-Robin. Portsmouth: Heinemann Publishers, p. 52.)
- When you read together, ask questions as you go. (What do you think is going to happen next? or This reminds me of a time when _____)
- Research shows that students who read at least 20 minutes per day outside of school do better in school. Allow your child to go to bed 15 minutes later if they read. He/she doesn’t feel like reading? No problem, bedtime is at the regular time.
- Make regular visits to the library. Explore all that’s available free for your use!
- Help your child find books that are aligned to her/his interests. The librarians at the public and/or school library are precious jewels for this information. Ask them to help find books centered around your child’s interests.
- Allow your child to buy books from book orders at school (less expensive than at a book or even a discount store). Letting children start their own mini-library shows your child that books are valued.
- A great way to improve your child’s confidence and fluency (smoothness and speed of reading) are to practice by reading a book many times. Research backs repeated readings as a highly effective method for reading improvement. Show your child how phrasing and expression help with meaning. Encourage your child to read to you and/or siblings.
- Record your child reading and have him/her listen to him/herself. Does it sound like Mom or Dad might read it? What can he/she do to improve? Have your child keep a reading diary, listing books as she/he completes them. Or, make a chart that can be colored in. Visuals are excellent tools for children to “see” progress. Remind your child that they become smarter as he/she reads more.
- Help your child choose a “just right” book. “Just right” means that the book can be read with roughly 95% accuracy. In a recreational sense, books should be “just right” to be sure your child will be successful and enjoy reading (more challenging books can be reserved for an instructional time at school). Use the 5 finger test. As she/he reads a page, put up one finger for each word she/he doesn't know. If this happens on one page, it’s too hard. Caution: this 5 finger test would show 95% accuracy with 100 words. The thing to remember is that if a child is having difficulty, it’s best left for instructional purposes later (90-94% is the guideline for instructional books at school).
- Talk to your child about what they are reading. Why did he/she like what he/she read?
Grades 6-9 Prentice Hall Language Arts Textbook
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Online Resources for Parents
- Graphic Organizers by Houghton Mifflin (used to model comprehension strategies)
- Word Sorts and other Vocabulary Building Strategies
- Read Write Think (online lessons, activities, worksheets, interactive tools) A Great Site!
- Making Sentences (facts, games, quizzes, worksheets... all of it interactive!)
For more information, contact Shari Ledahl, District Curriculum Coordinator, at 763-497-6536