Growing a Reader

I am tidying up the resources I brought home last June… when I officially retired from teaching. What a task! I am reminded of students, events, colleagues, and lessons, as I cull and purge a vast collection of material. I can’t help but reflect on the knowledge I’ve gained as an educator for 25+ years. And since my heart is still with students as they learn and grow, I’m sharing ideas with you.

Do you have a growing reader in your home? Are you spending time reading together? What a delightful and special time. I am hoping that it is never ‘homework’, and instead a time to enjoy a book and encourage your reader.

So where to begin? Begin with a book your child wants to read. Then, take a look at the book together. Examine the front and back cover, read the title aloud, view the pictures, scan the pages. Are you curious about anything? What questions or predictions do you or your child have as you look over the book.

What kinds of things can you do to support your young reader?

  • Listen and comment on the content as your child reads.
  • If your reader struggles with a word, simply wait. Give your child time to think and problem solve on their own.
  • If they need help encourage a strategy:
    • sounding out words
    • reread the sentence and be ready to make the sound of the beginning letters.
    • look at part of the word
    • look at the picture or diagram for context
    • read ahead to find out more
    • reread the sentence
  • Or, happily give your child the word so that reading can continue. It may be your child has picked a book that is just too hard at the moment.

If that is the case continue your reading together in this supportive way.

  • Read aloud together at the same time.
  • Read aloud to your child and have them read the last word, a key word or phrase in the sentence.
  • Read one sentence and your child reads the next.
  • Read a line or a paragraph and your child reads it after you.

And once you have finished the book? Now is the time to talk, listen, and talk some more because, “Reading and writing float on a sea of talk.” says James Britton literacy and language researcher. Together, retell the story, make connections to the story or express your wonders and questions.

What a lovely way to pass the time!

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