Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reading with your Elementary Age Child

    We all want our children to enjoy reading and to read well.  Here are a few tips that will encourage your child to pursue reading and enjoy the pleasure of delving into a book.

    Read to your children.  
Even when children are competent readers, parents can continue to read to their children even in upper grades.  Choose a book the whole family will enjoy.    Help create an active listener by asking questions, encouraging the child to retell or act out part of the book.  Encourage children to ask questions too.  When you read to your child you are creating an atmosphere where the child’s imagination can soar, where vocabulary and ideas can be explored, and making memories that will last a lifetime.  Children need to listen to expressive readers.  

    Listen to your child read.   
 If you have the time, it is always best to focus your attention solely on your child, but we all lead busy lives.  You can listen to your child read while you are preparing dinner or folding laundry.  Children want parents to be involved in their lives and this is a simple way to give them time.  You can help your child decode words, understand concepts and vocabulary, and become a more fluent reader.  When a child comes across an unfamiliar word it is easy to tell them what it is.  I suggest you wait and give your child a chance to sound it out before you help him or her.  If you have children who are close in age, they can read to each other while you listen.  Even if your children are 11 or 12, they will read better if they know they have your attention.

    Choose books wisely.  When you are choosing a book to read to your child, pick one that is above his or her reading level.  When choosing a book for your child to read, make sure he or she is comfortable with the length of the book, the number and size of words on the page, and the reading level.  Many books have the reading level listed on the back of the book.

Turn off the electronics.
I have said it before and will say it again.  There should be a time when everyone in the family reads.  Children will see you reading and want to emulate mom and dad. 

If your child seems to find reading challenging it is best to meet with his or her teacher and ask what she is doing and how you can do it at home.  Learning to read is a magical process.  It takes more time for some children than for others.  Be patient but be aware of your child's reading progress.

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