Sharing Books at Home How to support your reader at home
Dear Parents, Reading is the cornerstone to further learning, and there are few gifts greater than the love of reading. It is this love that we are encouraging you to help your child develop. The process you and your child will go through as s/he becomes more independent in his/her reading should be enjoyable and a time you and your child look forward to every day. On the following pages are some tips to help you support your child‟s reading development. The MOST important thing you can do to help your child become a lifelong reader is to PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE, and value this special time you have together. Please recognize that we do NOT expect you to teach your child to read, that is our job. We are asking that you spend quality time reading TO and reading WITH your child. Reading TO your child While our children are transitioning through to reading independence, it is vital that parents read to their children daily. “Read aloud every day because you just love being with your child, not because it‟s the right thing to do.” Mem Fox, Reading Magic. Reading to our children allows them a gateway into text that is too difficult for them to attempt independently. It allows them to enjoy the magic of stories they otherwise would not be able to experience. Reading to your child provides an opportunity for him/her to apply what s/he already knows and to “share and learn about books in a supportive environment, thereby boosting self-esteem and creating a positive feeling that will forever be associated with books and reading” (Rebel Williams). On the following pages are some tips to help you make the most of this special time with your child.
Reading TO your child
1. Set the scene. This should be a quiet time for you to spend one-on-one with your child. Find a space that is well lit and comfortable. Sit so you can both see the pages. Relax. Childhood is brief. Make this your time together. 2. Set up the book. Familiarize yourself with the book before you decide to read it to your child. This will allow you to read expressively and be aware of new concepts and issues that may arise in the text that you may need to support. Before you start reading to your child, look at the book together. Discuss the title, and front and back covers. Discuss the pictures and characters you see in the book. Encourage your child to talk about what they think might happen in the book and share your ideas too. This will activate your child â€žs listening skills. Reading TO your child
During Reading: 1. Read expressively. As adults we know how much fluency aids in our understanding of a story. The same is true for your child. Change voices for different characters; point out punctuation or print (such as BOLD) that affects the way you read the story. All these clues will help your child understand the story and teach them about how print works. 2. Allow for questions. It is okay to stop and discuss the book as you go. Do not feel you have to read to the end before you can stop and talk about your childâ€&#x;s ideas or identify words your child knows. Allow your child to lead the session.
When you continue reading again, reread the sentence you stopped on to help your child pick up the story thread again. 3. Make it an enjoyable and fun experience. Allow your child to point out letters or words they recognize, but let him/her initiate the conversation. This should be a spontaneous occurrence and not seen as a necessary part of the read aloud experience. 4. Not a good choice? Do not feel you have to finish reading a book that does not capture you and your childâ€&#x;s attention. After Reading: 1. Make Connections: Talk to your child about what happened in the story, what surprised you, what interested you. Make connections to the story and any events that have happened to your family. 2. Discuss the book: A. Prediction: Review the predictions you made at the beginning of the reading session. How accurate were they?
B. Characters: Discuss the characters in the book. Who did you find interesting? Do the characters remind you of anyone you know or characters from other stories?
C. Make it personal: What would you have done differently or the same as one of the characters in the story? Have you ever been in a similar situation?
D. Comparisons: Make links between this story and other ones you may
have read together. NOTE: It is important to note that it is NOT necessary to have all of these discussions every time you read a book together. Pick one or two that match well with the story you have read.
Tips on choosing books to read to your child: Involve your child in choosing the book. Choice is an important component of enjoyment. It is a normal part of a child‟s reading development for him/her to want to read the same book again, and again, and again. Be patient. This phase will pass. Chose a book that is above your child‟s independent reading level. Try to read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction books. Reading WITH your child
1. Encourage fluency It is perfectly normal for children to substitute words such as “a car” instead of “the car” when reading. This is something mature readers do all the time. If we stop our children every time they make a mistake, they will lose the message of the story, and that is ultimately the entire purpose of reading. 2. Wait When your child gets stuck on a word, wait before you help (count to 5 slowly in your head). Allow your child time to try and work out the word independently first. 3. Help After you have waited, you can prompt your child by using any of the following cues: look at the pictures, look at the initial sound, read on break the word into chunks, ask what would make sense, or tell them the word.
Reading WITH your child
1. Make Connections Often at this age range, childrenâ€&#x;s ability to read outpaces their comprehension of the story. Talk to your child about what happened in the story, what surprised you, what interested you. Make connections to the story and any events that have happened to your family. 2. Praise and Appreciate This really is the most important part of the reading process for your child. Tell him/her how much you enjoyed his/her reading, thank him/her for choosing such an interesting book, make a fuss. Nothing makes reading harder for a child than feeling unsuccessful.
Questions and Answers: What if my child brings home a book that is too easy? The main idea behind encouraging children to read regularly is for them to have daily practice and to feel successful doing so. Reading is hard work and children are more likely to persevere and feel motivated about reading if they experience fluency and are not stuck with processing text all the time. Reading is about enjoyment and easy text allows for reading with expression, which is more difficult if the child is focused on decoding alone. Easy text also allows for opportunities to focus on comprehension.
What if my child brings home a book that is too hard?
Reading is a pleasurable activity and choice and interest play an important role in determining pleasure. If your child has brought home a book that is too difficult for him/her, it could be because s/he found some connection with the text or pictures in the book and felt encouraged to try and explore it. This could be an opportunity for parents to take a more assistive role â€“ perhaps even read the book
aloud to the child and later do a reread while the child helps and points to familiar words on the page. At school, teachers assist the children in choosing “just right” books. This is a part of reading behaviour modeled by teachers at appropriate opportunities. If the children are not allowed choice, they are less likely to invest in the activity.
How do I support my child if our first language is not English?
It is perfectly natural to discuss the book in the child‟s native language if the first language is not English. Thinking is thinking, regardless of any language. Continue to read to your child in your native language to maximize first language acquisition and to foster a child‟s natural love for stories. Reading is about sharing messages. Explore connections between what happens in the story and your child‟s life, examine “what if” situations, and talk about similar stories in your own language. The opportunities are endless!
Resources: If you would like more information about supporting your reader at home, these resources are available at the school library for you to borrow.
Reading Magic by Mem Fox (PROF 649 FOX) Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning and Living by Mem Fox (PROF 372.6 FOX)
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (PROF 372.45 TRE)
Still have questions about supporting your reader? Here are some useful contacts. Year 3 Teachers: Maija Ruokanen firstname.lastname@example.org Christine Kelly email@example.com Mariana Suarez firstname.lastname@example.org Isabella Hydon email@example.com Jenny Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Joanna Johami (ESL) email@example.com Trish Curtain (LS) firstname.lastname@example.org Elementary School Librarian: Jennifer Baccon email@example.com Elementary Vice-Principal, Curriculum: Kate Grant firstname.lastname@example.org Language Arts Coordinator: Sam Sherratt email@example.com Elementary School Principal: Paul Hamlyn firstname.lastname@example.org
Language Learning Engagements at Home
Keep reading and writing enjoyable and natural at home
Use a recipe book to make dinner together. Make a grocery list. Write letters/emails to grandparents. Read together and talk about what you have read. Model reading at home (books, newspapers, magazines). It is important for your child to see you as a reader in your home language. Take your child to the library. Encourage your child to read the print around them and notice any unusual spelling or punctuation mistakes.