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Reading Tips

Be a sharp reader!

It is more important that students understand what they are reading than merely seeing and saying the words. When reading with your child, stop to ask him/her questions and apply the techniques highlighted on a poster in front of our classroom:

  • Predict.
  • Ask questions.
  • Think about the illustrations.
  • Make corrections.
  • Stop to recap the story.
  • Reread confusing points.
  • Make pictures in your mind.

Comprehension Strategies for Reading Daily at Home

All students must read daily at home for at least 30 minutes, whether or not a book was given for homework.

Predict/Infer: I predict before I read a story. I use the title and pictures to help me make my predictions. I infer while I am reading. I use the clues in the story, like the pictures, to help me figure out what is going on in the story.

Monitor/Clarify: I monitor when I am reading to make sure I understand what is going on in the story. When I monitor I check my thinking so that things are clear and make sense.

Phonics/Decoding: While I am reading, I need to use what I know about sounds and letters to read words. I have to think about vowels and if the sound is short or long. I must remember the rules I am learning.

Question: At anytime when reading, I should be asking myself or someone else question about the story. I must keep wondering what will happen next in the story.

Summary: When I have finished reading a part of the story or the whole story, I should summarize what I have read so far. I do this by putting together the most important parts in order. I want to make sure I follow the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Evaluate: When I have finished reading a story, I should think about what made this story important, should my friends read this story, or did I like this story. Maybe I would like to read another story by this author.

My family needs to remember to help me with these strategies daily. They need to know that I only need to do two or three daily.

When your child has finished reading his or her book, ask him or her to make a connection to the text (story). These questions will help your child focus on text to text, text to self, and text to word connections.

Questions to ask:

  • Was the character in the story like you?
  • Has that ever happened to you before?
  • Do you know another book like this one?
  • How were these stories alike? different?
  • Has that ever happened to someone you know?
  • Is this story fiction (make believe) or nonfiction (real)?
  • Is this story about something this is happening in the world?

Reading for Understanding

Adapted from Reading comprehension: Strategies for independent learners by C. Blachowicz and D. Ogle

Strategies to help me understand what I read...

Stop and ask myself questions:

  • Does this make sense?
  • Do I know what all the words mean?
  • Can I picture in my mind what is happening?
  • What do I think will happen next?
  • Was my prediction correct? Why or why not?

If I am having trouble understanding, I will use a fix-up strategy:

  • Reread the sentence or paragraph to help me figure out what a word means or what the author is saying
  • Read ahead the next sentence or two to see if it helps me understand
  • Retell in my own words what I just read
  • Think and connect what I read to what I already know and my own experiences:
    • This reminds me of ____________.
    • Based on __________ I know ___________.
  • If I am still having trouble understanding, I ask someone for help.

Tips for Reading with your Child

Adapted from Raising Readers by Steven Bialostock

1. Be prepared to read (almost) anytime and anywhere.  Keep books in different places around your home – in the bedroom, in a basket by the door (for reading "picnics"), and near a cozy chair. Keep books that your child can enjoy independently in the car, especially for those long car rides or unexpected traffic jams! Demonstrate that books can be enjoyed almost anytime and anywhere.

2. Delight in sharing this enjoyment.  Choose books that you enjoy, too. If you are reading a book that irritates or bores you, your child will pick up on your reaction, and the benefits from the reading experience may be lost.

3. Let your child determine who takes the lead in your shared reading experience. Your child may want to select the books and do all the reading aloud one night. On another night your child may want you to read aloud. Allow the child to direct the reading experience.

4. Vary the types of books you offer to your child.  Children love hearing the same stories and rereading a favorite book, but they also thrive on variety. Books are one of the best ways to open new worlds to children. So bring the world's diversity to them – choose books with varying content, writing styles, and illustration styles.

5. Appreciate your child's desire to hear a favorite book over and over.  A favorite book is a treasured friend to your child, and your child continually learns from the repeated readings. Encourage this by reading and rereading the book.

6. Share pleasure rather than success.  Forget flashcards, sounding out words, and other methods of turning reading into a lesson. Instead, let your child anticipate each reading moment with you as one of joy, free of pressure and anxiety.

7. Talk about it!  Part of the joy in sharing books is discussing them with your child. Ask your child her opinions – her likes, dislikes, and ideas. Talk about what you enjoyed too. Discussion makes for a more complete reading experience.

8. Don't worry about the way in which your child reads.  Finger-pointing, silently mouthing words, and repeating favorite words or phrases are all ways your child may actively enjoy the reading experience. Don't discourage these "interruptions" to your narrative! Recognize that your child is happily moved to participate, and take pride in generating such enthusiasm.

9. Pick good moments for reading.  Choose times for reading when both you and your child are interested in sharing a book and can fully enjoy the pleasures of your mutual interest.

10. Present yourself as a reading role model.  Read yourself, and make every effort to have your child observe you reading. Children learn by imitating those they love and admire.

Recommended Reads

The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle

Oh, the Things You Can Say From A to Z by Dr. Seuss

How Many Feet? How Many Tails? by Marilyn Burns

Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer