May 28, 2010 in Uncategorized by Lorain County Moms
When it comes to kids today, it seems to be all about the screen — computer games, handheld games, websites, social media, cell phones, TV, and, of course, text messaging.
But what about reading? Many parents today are concerned because they know that being a good reader remains a crucial skill that kids need in order to be successful in school … and life.
If you’re one of those worried parents, here’s a bit of good news: There are simple things you can do to encourage, entice, and even excite your children about picking up a book. The first is to set aside some family time for reading. Next, try these seven tips to make the experience enjoyable — while developing your child’s skills.
- Start with an interesting topic, and read out loud together. Ask your children to find newspaper or magazine articles on topics that interest them — or a book or a play or a short story. Then read it to each other, alternating paragraphs. Reading out loud develops children’s ability to read fluidly, encourages them to pronounce unknown words, and challenges them to puzzle out meaning from context clues. When kids read on their own, they’re more likely to skip over unknown words and miss the meaning.
- Select books using the five-finger method. Unsure if a particular book is the right level for your child? Open it and ask him or her to read aloud, raising a finger each time the reader comes to an unknown word. If five fingers are up before the reader gets to the end of a page, the book is probably too difficult.
- Predict the future. Before you begin reading anything — article or book — ask your child to predict what it’s about based on the title, cover or illustrations. You may want to jot down your predictions. Afterwards, see how right or wrong those guesses were.
- Dissect the text. As you read, stop periodically to discuss what the paragraph means. Break it down by element: What is the setting? Who is writing this? Is it fiction or fact? What is the main idea? Can we draw any conclusions from what we’ve read so far? Doing so increases kids’ understanding. It also offers them a smart technique for reading on their own.
- Pick a pair to pack more power. Have you found a book that excites your child? Find a second one that complements it. If she’s reading a novel about wizards or war or vampires, find a non-fiction take on the topic (or vice versa). That can lead to a discussion of how reality relates to fantasy.
- Do a “challenge review” of the Five W’s. After reading an article — or during the reading of a book — ask your child to put together a sentence that describes the who, what, when, where, and why of the story. You do it, too! See who can make the shortest sentence that includes all five w’s.
- Explore the actors. When you’ve finished reading, invite your child to evaluate the characters you’ve met. For a news story, ask what your son or daughter thought about the key individual in the piece. With a book or long story, ask your child to select one character they would like to have as a friend, and ask them to explain why.
Your kids may think that text messages are the most exciting literature around, and that ‘e-mail’s for old people.’ But reading and talking together — no electrical devices necessary — can still provide a thrill.