Here are three simple ideas to help your young child become a better reader in 2011.
- Keep a reading log. Purchase an inexpensive small notebook or blank journal. Date and write down book titles of what you read with your child and/or what they read on their own. Leave about a half-page between entries.
- After reading to, or listening to your child read ask: "What do you think this story is about?" If your child is having difficulty getting the main idea, help them sort it out. Explain what you think the main idea of the story is and find sentences in the story to support it. This teaches your child to look for similar clues in new stories, and helps increase reading comprehension. Then, go back to the reading log and add a sentence or two about the main idea after the title entry. This will help your child easily recall the story when they reference the reading log.
- Do a "word of the week." Young children love learning "grown-up" words. For example, while reading "Mr. Popper’s Penguins" to my class we came across the word "promenade." After many incorrect guesses, I told them that it was a fancy way of saying "taking a walk." Every time you encounter a new word in a story, stop and try to determine what that new word might mean. Make it your family’s "word of the week." Look for opportunities to use it correctly again during the week.
Resolve to read a few minutes more with your child each day. Reading to your child is the very best thing you can do to foster a life-long love of reading!