In this world of increasingly rapid technological change, it is important we do not forget some of the core skills, habits and values that have stood the test of time.
Chief among these in my book - excuse the pun - is a love of reading.
If there is one skill we teach our children that carries more weight than anything else, it would probably have to be the ability to read with deep comprehension.
So, tonight a few ideas to help you support your child become a great reader...
We want our beginning readers to be able to lose themsclvei n a book. We want them to be transported to a different place. We especially want them to realise the world they live in is much bigger than the street they live on.
When you take a trip to the library or the book store, try these strategies to find books that are worth your time and investment. Many of the strategies go hand in hand.
1. The Five Finger Test.
If you are not sure of your child's reading level or if they have picked a book by its cover, this is a strategy you can use to see if the book is something they can really read. Pick a page from the middle of the book. Ask your child to hold up five fingers and begin reading the page aloud. Each time they encounter a word they don't know, they put a finger down. At the end of the page (or a reasonable passage length] they should still have one or two fingers up. If all their fingers are down, you may determine you still want to get the book as a read-aloud-to-them title. If all their fingers are up, the text is easy for him. This isn't a bad thing.
2. Nonaction Captions.
Let's say your daughter has a thing about horses and has chosen a book about them. You can do the Five Finger Test on the captions. This is often a strategy to enter into non-fiction. If the captions are within her reading ability, she may use them as a way into the regular text as she looks for more information about the concept shown in the photo.
3. Multilevel Texts.
Many books, both beginning fiction and non-fiction have text written on two levels.
These books have simple beginning text for your child to read and more difficult text for you or an older child to read. Frequently these have more information and richer storylines than simple beginning readers. This is a great way to help support their reading.
4. Tried and True.
If your child wants to read a title they have read before, don't worry. Although you know it's too easy for them, let them reread them.
Familiarity with text builds fluency, a skill that supports reading prowess. In addition, there is nothing wrong with having a character or storyline you love.
Magazines are a great way to encourage reading for readers of all levels. There is a wide range of reading abilities. Articles tend to be short enough for beginning or struggling readers. The captions are often at an easier level than the text.
6. Talk to the Staff.
Both librarians and book store staff know their stuff. Ask for suggestions based on reading ability, interests, and your child's favourite authors. They know what is new and what is popular. They also know the old stand-bys that may have fallen out of vogue but are reading gems. They can help you find books at the right level of ability and interest.
7. Determine the Purpose.
We read for enjoyment and to gain knowledge. When your child picks a book, ask why it interests them. This isn't meant to be a quiz. Keep it simple. If it is because their friends are reading it, use the five finger test to see if they can read it.
There is anything wrong with carrying around a book you wish you could read. It shows a curiosity of what is in the text. Just be sure to have material that they can read available.
8. Don't forget to pick up a book or two for yourself.
It doesn't have to be a novel. It can be a travel magazine or a book on gardening. The best way to get your child to want to read is by seeing their parents read. You are the most influential role model they have.
Greetings to all the families and friends of Western Heights school.