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Reading as a Family

A few months ago a concerned mom shared that her children, who were at the time my creative writing students, do not like to read when she asks them to. She added that they become spacey and can’t answer her follow up questions for discussion.

She also wanted to know if I had any suggestions for her.

Well, of course I had!

I suggested to her what I suggest to every parent I meet with such concerns and to parents who simply want to be involved in their children’s reading.

Choose and Book on your Child’s  Reading Level

Help your child find books on his/her independent reading level (depending on how your child’s reading has been assessed, Grade Level Equivalent (1.0 to 12.9), Guided Reading (A-Z), DRA (A,1-80), Lexile Measure (200L-1600L)). It is important for children to read on their independent reading levels so that the materials read will not be too easy and lead them to boredom, or too hard and lead them to frustration, both of which lead to
disliking reading and funding the act uninteresting. For more information please visit http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/

Read as a Family

Make time 3-4 times a week to read as a family. Each family member, including the parents, reads his/her book of choice for 30-45minutes and then everyone gathers together and discusses what they just read. This activity will help your children listen to how you summarize what you read and then share what they read by taking you as an example. Also, the discussion will give you an insight into your child’s reading material, his/her comprehensive skills as well as retelling skills. It is also recommended that you do a bit of research on your child’s book to track comprehension and make sure the summaries are accurate.

Go to a Bookstore or a Library together

Please take your children to bookstores and/or libraries. They are both great places to find books, I know it is easy to sit at home and order books online or on a kindle, but the physical part of picking out a book to read is absolutely important. Make it a habit of visiting a bookstore/library at least once a month and picking up new reading materials such as books, magazines, and other fun educational artifacts. This activity will help your children brows through rows of books and pick what they like, and then you can all compare your choices and pick a few to take home.

Write about what you read

Writing about what you read helps remember the contents of the book as well as improve writing and retelling skills. When you and your children read make it a habit to print out accompanying questions or just general questions that could be used for any book such as “who is the main character” “what is the conflict” “what is the setting” “what do you think will happen…” Written journals should be completed at least once a week and once again shared with one another.

If you follow these tips I guarantee that your children will love reading and become better readers, writers and communicator.

If you have any suggestions and/or questions feel free to comment below.

Ellie