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How to help your child at home…Bright Ideas
Letters and SoundsTo be a successful reader and writer, your child should know letters and sounds (and combinations of letters/sounds) so automatically that he/she does not even have to stop to think about them.
Helping with letters/sounds:Use magnetic letters on the refrigerator.Write on the shower wall with shaving cream.Play a game in the car: “What do you hear at the beginning/end of McDonald’s? At the beginning of truck?”. “Say cat. Now change the beginning to spl-. What do you have now?”Give me a word that rhymes with ______?
Sight WordsTo read successfully and quickly, children must have many words that they can read “on sight” (without having to try to sound them out).
Helping with sight words:Monitor what is coming home from school. That way, you’ll know which words have been introduced.Make flash cards to practice sight words.Practice each night.Play a game to practice sight words.
Successful Readers…read the words in the text accurately ANDread quickly enough ANDunderstand what they read.The level at which your child can do ALL of these things is considered to be his/her current reading level.
Reading with your child:Read to your child regularly.Listen to your child read each night. Your involvement in your child’s growth as a reader can be the key factor that helps the teacher ensure success!Your child’s teacher will determine his/her reading level. She will send home books on or below that level (depending on her goals at the time).
Reading with your childAs you are listening to your child read, the ways in which you help can really impact his/her learning.When possible, help your child figure out an unknown word rather than just telling it to him/her.
When your child is stuck, you might say…Look at the picture. What would make sense there?Look at the first letter. Can you start the word and think about what would make sense?Do you see a big part of that word that you know?
These are the things we want to remind our children to do as they are reading.
Help with comprehension by talking to your child about his/her reading.Say things like:Think about what you’ve read so far. Tell me what you think might happen in the rest of the story.Start at the beginning and tell me what happened in the story. What do you think the author is trying to tell us in the story? What do you think the character learned? Why?What did this book make you think of?
The Scoop on Reading:Some Frequently-Asked Questions
My child can read this book very easily. Doesn’t that mean it’s too easy? No. When a teacher sends home a book with your child, the book SHOULD be easy. The purpose of sending the book home is to give your child practice in efficiently using his/her developing reading strategies. This practice must occur on text that is not hard for the reader.
My child uses the pictures a lot as he/she reads. Should I cover up the pictures? No. Pictures help a developing reader to understand what he/she reads. As your child grows as a reader and becomes better at “sounding out” words, the books will get harder and the pictures will offer less support. In the meanwhile, encourage your child to use the pictures for help when reading.
Why does my child sometimes read the same book several times? Rereading text helps a child to notice different features of the text, to practice reading strategies, and to improve fluency.
Why does my child bring home books that are different levels?Sometimes, your child will bring home books that are at his/her independent reading level. Reading these books helps your child to improve fluency. Other times, your child will bring home books at his/her instructional reading level. Reading these books will help your child to practice using reading strategies to problem solve on text. Your child will never bring home books at his/her frustrational level. These books would be too difficult and would not help your child to grow as a reader.
How does the teacher know what my child’s reading level is? Your child’s reading level is determined by administering an assessment wherein the teacher listens to your child read a variety of leveled texts. Your child’s reading level is the level at which he/she met all of the expectations (for accuracy, speed, and comprehension). Between scheduled assessment dates, teachers monitor changes in reading levels through informal assessment and through observation of your child’s reading performance in class.
Some “DOs” and “DON’Ts”Do:Make reading fun.Be supportive of your child’s efforts.Stay involved.Help your child figure things out instead of just telling him/her the answer.Encourage your child to use a variety of reading strategies.Do Not:Make reading a punishment.Always tell your child unknown words.Always use the prompt, “Sound it out”.Cover up the pictures.
Thank you for your interest in your child’s success. Together, we can make a lifelong difference for your child!