"The only way to improve
reading skills is to read." Nancy
Studies show that in order to improve
reading skills, children need to practice their reading for 60 minutes
each day. The 60 minutes can come in small 15-20 minute blocks or in one
large time frame. Finding time for reading practice can be difficult, but
it is one of the most important steps in improving a student's reading
Phonics is an important part of
reading, however reading to understand is the most important goal of
reading. Good readers monitor and correct as they read. When a child is
stuck on a word, they are often told to "sound it out."
Sometimes this works, but often in our crazy English language, it doesn't.
Students need a variety of strategies to help them read. The following
list provides some strategies besides just "sound it out."
Give the child a five to ten second
wait time to see what s/he attempts.
Ask, "Does that word make
Say, "Look at the picture(s)?"
Say, "Put in a word that makes
Ask, "What word would make sense
Say, "Go back to the beginning
and try again."
Say, "Go back and smooth it
Ask, "Do we say it that
Ask, "What letter/sound does it
Say, "Skip over the word and
read to the end of the sentence. Now what do you think the word might
Tell the child the word.
Other Tips for Parents:
Choose or help your child choose
books where he/she will feel successful.
Reading aloud to children improves
their reading fluency. (Do it! Every day!)
Children have to read a lot at home
and school to become capable readers.
Whenever possible, provide background
information about the story or the topic of the reading assignment.
Background knowledge or experience about a topic improves
Most importantly, focus on
what your child can do. Reading should be fun!
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning
When should I stop reading to my
Never!!! Children of all ages reap the
benefits of hearing a story read aloud. Read aloud to your children from
birth (some studies suggest even before) through college. Many adults
enjoy hearing others read aloud whether it is a passage from a novel, a
poem or an excerpt from a newspaper or magazine article.
Is it OK for my child to read the
same book/novel again?
Yes, just as adults sometimes enjoy
hearing a good story again, so do children. Let your child have fun
Should I force my child to finish a
book before starting another?
Reading should be enjoyable. Don't force
him/her to read a book that s/he doesn't enjoy. Your child's teacher or
public librarian might be able to recommend some popular titles.
How can I get my child interested in
This is a frequently asked question. Try
a magazine subscription geared toward your child's age group. Try and
find several books related to a topic in which your child shows
interest. Don't force the books on the child, but make them available.
Model reading and share your enthusiasm for a good book. Create an environment
rich in literature.
How can I get my child to read more and spend
less time watching TV/computer.
Television is fierce competition for children's free
time. Be active in your child's TV viewing. Control the quantity and
quality of the programs your child watches. Establish a daily reading
time for everyone in the house. Turn off the TV.
Parent Communication/ Frank Schaffer Publications