Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Finding the Right Book for Your Child

Selecting the right book for your child can be difficult. Often times parents will look the cover and title and then quickly flip through the pages to check to see if it looks age appropriate. While finding a book that is age appropriate is extremely important, especially when it comes to content, it is not the only deciding factor.

We must remember that every child is unique and every child learns and develops at a different pace. If your son or daughter is a struggling reader, meaning he or she may be in 3rd grade but be reading on a early 2nd grade level it would not be helpful to find a book for a 3rd grader. When children read books that are above their independent reading level they start to get overly frustrated and become turned off from reading. You must select a book that fits your child interest and is on their individual reading level.

Scholastic has a wonderful feature on its website where people are able to type in the title and author or ISBN number into the search engine and the website will generate the book's level. Figuring out your child's reading level can be tricky because it is dependent on variety of factors, such as, ability to decode new words, reading fluency, comprehension and use of a variety of reading comprehension skills and strategies. Your child's teacher or tutor can assess child's level. Essentially a child's reading level should move up every 6-8 weeks beginning in 1st grade through the middle of 3rd grade. As he or she comes toward the end of 3rd grade, each level's difficulty gap widens and the time he or she spends on a level can be longer.

A wonderful website that can be used as a tool to help your child even more and is a wonderful resource of book is Reading A to Z also known as Raz Kids. Most districts have memberships and will give students a student ID and PW. Ask your child's school if they have one.
Link is below:

Reading A to Z

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Reading - How to get our child to become a better reader?

I think we can all agree that most parents want to see their children become great readers. Parents want their children to love reading and it makes them happy when they see their child pick up a book without them having to be told to do so. One of the mothers of a former student of mine said to me that she always wished she had loved to read as a kid and it saddened her that her son felt the same way. She then proceeded to say that since being in my class he has started to like to read more and will pick up a book on his own.

So,  back to my original question "How do get our children to become a better reader?" The answer is somewhat's by reading more. The more that your read, the better reader you'll be. Think of this way, you want to make the basketball team. What do you do? Play more basketball, practice more and make the time needed to make the team. Reading is very similar. The way we become better readers is by finding a book we enjoy, picking it up and reading it. The more you read, the quicker reader you'll be and the better you'll be.

Now comes the hard part, what to do if your child just doesn't like to read. He or she doesn't feel motivated to pick up a book and read? How do you get your child to become motivated to read? Before I give you my suggestions, I will say that some kids, some people don't like to read as much as others, just like some people don't like to sports as others do or don't enjoy cooking as others do. However, I know that if you are to follow these important suggestions your child will begin to enjoy reading more and thus will become a better reader.

Suggestions to Become a Better Reader:

- What does your child like? If your child enjoys stories on princesses, then find a book about princesses. Go to the library or the store and together walk around and select a book

- Take turns reading. Have your child read a page, then you read a page, then your child, then you and so on. Eventually, your child will start to read every page on his or her own.

- Read to your child! Parents tend to think that once their child is able to read on their own, they no longer need to be read to. That is not the case! Reading to your child through middle school is shown to be effective. However, when you read to your child make sure you are reading something they would not be able to read on their own. For example, in 3rd grade - you can read Harry Potter to your child. Once you make it to 3rd or 4th book, he or she will be able to read it you!

- Each time your child reads to him or herself or to you discuss the book. Ask him/her questions about what they read. Did they like it? Why or why not?

- Setting aside a block of time. Remember if your son or daughter wanted to make the basketball team you wouldn't have them practice in the yard when time allows and then hope for the best. You'd push them, tell them they need to set aside time for training. The same goes for reading. Set aside a block of time each day.

6 years old            start off with 10 and work your way up to 20 by adding 2 minutes every couple of weeks.

7 years old            start of with 15 (unless you've already hit 20) and work your way up to 25 minutes

8 years old            start of with 15 (unless you've already hit 25) and work your way up to 35 minutes

9-11 years old      start of with 20 (unless you've already hit 35) and slowly work your way up to 45 minutes by adding 2 minutes every month

- Before bed always have your child read, look at a book's pictures or listen to a story for 5-10 minutes. No TV or technology before bed (most suggest an hour, but even 30 minutes can make a huge difference).

Happy Reading!