Each afternoon parents check their children’s backpacks to determine what homework needs to be completed for the evening. Somewhere among the items listed one usually finds: read for __ minutes. While this task seems relatively straightforward, you may find yourself wondering what you should be doing to ensure this assignment is actually yielding the greatest benefit for your kiddo. As a parent you do not need to be over-involved in reading homework, but you can employ a few strategies to help your children get the most out of their books!
- Listen – It’s helpful for someone to listen to the child (particularly beginning readers) read their book or passage aloud. This may be tedious at first, but over time you will see your kiddo improving!
- Be Patient -You may be tempted to jump in when your child struggles with a word. Be sure to give her a reasonable amount of time to figure it out for herself. If she does need help, assist her in blending the individual sounds together in order to form the word.
- Check Comprehension – Your child may be reading the words on the page but not understanding the text. Parents can aid the comprehension process by asking questions such as: “Why do you think the character is upset?”, “What do you think is going to happen next?”, or “What is the setting?” You may also clarify what is happening: “So the girl is nervous because she is afraid of heights.” Check out our Reading Comp Coffers for further ideas!
- Read to Your Child – Kids of all ages like to have their parents read aloud to them. Not only does this create sweet memories, but it also allows your child to hear a passage read with fluency. When mom or dad read smoothly, with expression and observe punctuation, it demonstrates how a fluent reader sounds. Visit our Finding Fluency board to learn more.
- Show Interest –If your kiddo is reading independently, ask him about his book. When you express interest in your child’s homework, it communicates that you value what he is doing and find it to be a worthwhile task. Asking about a story’s plot, characters, and progression are good starting points.
- Facilitate – Make sure your child has access to reading material that interests him. He will be more enthusiastic about reading time if he finds the story/information to be appealing. Make a point of visiting your local public library and offer to help him locate something that he will enjoy reading.
- Create a Reading-Friendly Environment – Parents can make reading homework easier by ensuring that there are quiet areas in the home in which to complete the reading requirements. This often means turning off the television and limiting gaming time.
At the end of a long day it can be tempting to allow your kid to skip the reading portion of her homework. However, daily reading really is an important part of her literacy development. Take time this week to implement one of the above strategies with your little learner!