Today is Read Across America Day. But as a mama with the heart of a teacher, a passion for education ingrained deep within my soul, Read Across America Day is every day.
Read… It’s Worth It
I’m fully aware that this is not everyone’s reality, though. Some kids absolutely dread reading. And some parents (those same, frustrated students, just a bit older) feel quite the same way. Or maybe it’s that diving into that book after school or reading each night is such an intense battle that it doesn’t even seem worth it.
But, without a shred of doubt, I promise you that it is more than worth it to press in, dig deep, and do that thing. Put forth the effort, show your child the value of perseverance, and get ‘er done.
Promoting literacy at home can be a
nightmare bit tricky, so here are some tips for dealing with some particularly interesting reading stages:
The Almost-There or Just-Started-Reading Reader
- TIP: Paper books are your new BFF. There is nothing better than to be able to markup the text with your child, dissecting words and sentences into bite-sized chunks that he’ll be able to digest without becoming overwhelmed.
- ACTIVITY: Your little one has all. of. the. energy. Capitalize on that with an active approach to learning letters and words! Write letters or simple words on sticky notes, then hide them around the house. Have her search for them in a limited amount of time. Or simply see if she can get faster on each hunt. (Even throw in some math by counting up how many words she’s found or how many are left to discover at the same time – #raisingagenius)
- Want another way to enjoy this activity? Put all of the letters or words around one room, then turn off the lights and pull the shades. Shine a flashlight on each sticky, revealing the word hidden by the dark!
- BOOK RECOMMENDATION: BOB books. Check out their website (https://www.bobbooks.com) to see what level of books would be appropriate for your reader!
The Oh-So-Close-but-Becoming-Frustrated Independent Reader
- TIP: This is when we as parents get really excited. Maybe too excited. We’ve seen the immense growth, so we pick out amazing books for our kiddos to keep them rocking and rolling—then, BAM. It all comes to a screeching halt. Oftentimes, we unintentionally choose books for our little ones that are actually above their reading level. Understandably, this freaks them out. Oops. If your child is reading a book and makes more than five mistakes in a sentence or on one page (depending upon the length of the text), he should not be reading that book independently just yet. Make alternative selections until you find the right fit (hello, library!).
- And remember, those more difficult books make the perfect read aloud for before bed. A book you read aloud to your child should be 2-3 grade levels beyond what he can read independently, exposing him to vocabulary he wouldn’t be getting otherwise since he can’t decode those bigger words yet!
- ACTIVITY: At this point, you want to get your kiddo referring back to the text as often as possible to ensure comprehension. Ask probing questions about what she thinks might happen before beginning a book or chapter, then see if her predictions were correct upon finishing a page or chapter. Using Popsicle sticks with pre-written plot questions is a great way to check comprehension before moving on.
- BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Magic Tree House (I know, I know, but they’re so well-known for a reason!), as well as the Time Warp Trio series, The Littles series, or The Wayside School series.
The I’m-Too-Cool-for-School-and-Hate-Reading Reader
- TIP: Your child hates reading. As Scooby-Doo would say: “Ruh roh!” But don’t fear. Simply take the time to seek out books related to what your child is actually interested in! Coding, architecture, engineering, math, marine biology, history, fighter pilots… you name it, there’s a book about it. And even if it’s above your child’s reading level—GET IT. It will expose him to a love for reading through the pictures and text that he does understand, which will spur him to want to be able to read it!
- ACTIVITY: Get her writing instead. There is a tremendous connection between reading and writing. Having her create her own stories rather than reading those created by others will sharpen her skills in a brand new way.
- BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Usborne Books & More’s incredible non-fiction and activity books. Find what suits your child’s interests, then watch him fall in love books in an entirely new way!
So, let’s hear it—what is your favorite literacy tip? Spread your wisdom by commenting below!