• Read,Read, Read!

       Often parents ask how they can support their children at home.  My answer is simple, READ!!  Children of all ages need to spend more time on reading than is available in school.  Research shows that children are never too old to be read to.  You 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.   

    Reading aloud:
       * Improves vocabulary
       * Increases background knowledge
       * Improves comprehension
       * Develops familiarity with story structure
       * Identifies reading as a pleasurable activity
       * Improves story ideas for writing
       * Improves verbal expression
       * Sharpens listening comprehension skills 

       Children learn from us, so lead by example.  Parents that value reading and share their love of books are more likely to pass these views on to their children.  Foster a literacy rich home by talking about what you're reading for pleasure.  Read a passage from your current novel aloud to your child.  Point out an interesting article in the newspaper.  Go to the library and local stores to borrow and buy books.  Make reading, not material things a reward for good behavior.  Research shows that after about 10 hours of TV a week, school scores begin to drop.  Replace excessive TV with an activity that can have a positive impact on development. 

    Tips 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.).  Even older children love good picture books.  
       * A common mistake is reading too fast.  Slow down and children will be able to build mental images
    in their heads about what is being read.
       * Bring books with you everywhere.  A couple of pages can be squeezed in at the dentist's office or
    on the beach.
       * Have students read to and with siblings, grand parents, and babysitters.
       * If your child reads to you, be sure that the book is developmentally appropriate.  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. 
       * Use expression. 
        * Actively engage your kids by pausing occasionally and talking.  Ask open ended questions and make
       * 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 . . .") 

       In order to promote proficient life-long readers, we must all work together.