Thursday, June 20, 2013

Raising a reader

**These are just some random reading thoughts that I am about to rattle off here...
 These are just a few of the things that I would ramble about if we were having coffee and discussing reading with littles.

Every parent wants to raise a reader.
And we start by picking up books here and there as our belly grows.
Some of us even read to that belly.

When baby arrives the book piles get larger and shelves yearn to be touched.
Then baby starts exploring a book and the corners get so tasty.
The beginning of the enjoyment of books starts with a chewed corner.

Soon we attempt reading books, but realize that just pointing and naming objects is about all they can handle.
Soon they are pointing and turning the page, we can't keep up.

And all of a sudden they realize there is a story to hear.
And they develop a favorite...
it is carried proudly to the reading spot, over and over and over.
Even when mama or daddy puts it back on the shelf or at the bottom of the pile.
Part of becoming a reader is becoming so familiar with the book they can read it from memory.

Then we sometimes panic...will they let us read other books.
Maybe they even stop sitting still to listen.
The ages and stages pass.

But no worries mama.
By second grade most children have become readers.
Maybe they started kindergarten as a reader, maybe it clicked mid Kindergarten.
Maybe it took until first grade.
And maybe reading is a challenge and by second grade they are starting to gain skills and take off.

The important thing,
we as parents relax and keep reading TO them.
It is one of the best ways to teach a child to read.
Just like potty training, it helps when the child is ready, interested, and up for the adventure.
And if reading continues to be a struggle, remember,  YOU ARE THEIR STRONGEST ADVOCATE.  Talk to their teacher early!  Keep talking to them.  They are your resource to be tapped.

When you pick up books with your child:

When you pick up a book take a picture walk through the book first and point out new words, words with patterns or families that repeat, and remind them that the pictures are there as clues.
Make guesses as to what is going to happen in the book.  All of this helps.

As you read....

Point to the words.

Read and stop and ask them to point out letters and words.

Repeat books over and over, even if they seem memorized. If you child has memorized a book and proudly reads it to you, celebrate it, and then play games where they read words on the pages or point to words out of order so you can challenge them to really see the words on the page.

Stop and cover up words and have them read words out of order.

Don't make them battle through too many words at one time.  Picking books that are too hard aren't fun to read for a child.  It is okay to tell them a word to keep them moving.

Write out a sentence, cut it up, and have them assemble it using the capital and period as clues.


Model reading your own books at times when they can see you enjoying a book.

Take them to the library and let them pick out a handful or bag full of books often.

Keep reading to them, even in 4th grade when you think they can just read on their own.

Check out picture books even when they are in fifth grade and can devour Harry Potter books.

Every child should continue to work on reading aloud, fluency, and intonation as they read and picture books are a great way to do that.

Plus, isn't it amazing the adult and humor that children's books offer up that sometimes our little ones don't understand until they are a bit older.

Make reading fun by having book boxes in different nooks of the house, in the car, or take a bag of books to a park and sit under a tree.

And remember,

READING is exhausting for little ones.

Do it when they are fresh - it is amazing the difference you will see in a child who is learning to read when you do it at night before bed or in the morning after breakfast.  AMAZING.

Our bodies are exhausted after going on a bike ride as a new rider.

Their little minds are exhausted looking at letters, remembering sounds, looking at picture clues, stretching sounds, making sense of what they are reading, and the excitement they feel when they realize they did it.

Do it in short chunks.
Watch for eye rubbing.
 Look for yawns.
And when they start to stumble or take longer to decode and sound out is time to give them a hug and let them rest.
If the only time of day you have to read with your child is at the end of the day when you are cozy in bed then take turns reading pages so they hang in there a little longer.

Enjoy the journey.

Our first son loved to sit with me and work on school stuff. 
He loved workbooks.
He began reading early.
He started off kindergarten as a reader. 

Henry, our second, hasn't loved to sit with me and do this sort of stuff.
I don't force it. 
And he starts kindergarten this coming fall. 
In the last month I have gotten him to sit and work on the word family -at.
cat, hat, mat, sat etc.
Last night he sat down with me and I grabbed up one of our "cat" books and we dove in. 
There was a moment when he looked at me with wide eyes when he realized he was reading.

That's all it takes. 
That moment and realization that they can do it.
I could tell he was exhausted and I challenged him to give reading a try earlier the next day. 

And we did today and the difference was incredible.  
Things popped out of the kids mouth much more naturally.  
He is excited. 
He is ready. 

And I think I can say...
He's off!

So proud of our boy! 



Theresa said...

Congrats to Henry! That's so exciting when it starts to click! This post is a great reminder not to leave Cecilia out of the reading fun...she loves to look at books but has no interest in really being read to in the traditional sense....she just wants to turn the pages every 1 second and then throw the book! I know I need to keep trying, though. One day she'll get it!

Heather (One Take On Life) said...

Yes it does make a big difference between reading early and even reading mid day with ones that are learning to read. I love bob books but also need to expand on those beginner reader books.
Congrats to Henry for wanting to dive in. I love to watch that magic of reading happen.

Peggy, Jason, Lily and Connor said...

This is a GREAT post with awesome reminders for the non-teachers like me out there.
I love to read and can relate to everything up until pre-reading!! I just haven't gotten to the rest yet!
Read Henry READ!


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