•   I often receive this question from parents frequently!  The answer is simple, Read! I stress to the children during Read Alouds and Reading Groups that Reading IS Thinking. Children of all ages need to spend more time on reading than is available in school.  Research has shown that children are never too old to be read to.  As parents you have great control and can do a great deal to improve your child's literacy development.  Research shows that children that develop into the most effective readers are those that read or are read to the most.    

    Some strategies that work are listed below:  

    Reading aloud:

    •     Improves vocabulary
    •     Increases background knowledge
    •     Improves comprehension
    •     Develops familiarity with story elements
    •     Identifies reading as a pleasurable activity
    •     Improves story ideas for writing
    •     Improves verbal expression
    •     Sharpens listening comprehension skills 
    •     Assists students with public speaking & social interaction

    Helpful hints for a good read aloud: 

    •     Expose your children to quality, beautiful, interesting books.  
    •     Keep it interesting by varying genre (picture books, chapter books, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, etc.). I remember as a kid Charlotte's Web & Trumpet of the Swan were read to me! 
    •     A common mistake is reading too fast.  Slow down and children will be able to build those pictures in their heads about what is being read and what is going on in the story. 
    •     Bring books with you everywhere!
    •     On long trips, use audio books instead of movies! 
    •     Have students read to and with siblings, grand parents, and babysitters.


     If your child reads to you, be sure that the book is a "Just Right Book". Mrs. Coyne and I talk about the importance of age and literature appropriate books for your child. A book that is too difficult for a child to read could turn into negative feelings for reading! A general rule to follow is, if your child has difficulty reading 5 or more words on a page, the book is too hard for them to read to you at this time.  Reading should produce enjoyment not frustration. 

    •       Allow your child to read you the same book.  Repetition improves fluency.
    •       Try to steer clear of books that have been made into TV shows and movies.
    •       Alternate oral reading, you read a few pages, I read a few pages. 
    •       Follow punctuation marks/use expression. 
    •       Actively engage your kids by pausing occasionally and talking.  Ask open ended questions and make observations.  
    •       Talk about character and plot. ("Why do you think the character is doing that?")   
    •       Make and share predictions. ("Look at the title and the cover.  What do you think this book will be about? I think it might be about. . . ")
    •       Make connections to your own life and other books. ("This character reminds me of when . . .") 
        • Text-to-Text Connection - When what is read reminds the reader of another story
        • Text-to-Self Connection - When what is read reminds the reader of something personal in their lives
        • Text-to-World Connection - When what is read reminds the reader of something that has happened in the world around them. 

      The most important thing to remember is that Parents are teachers too!