Helping Your Child with Reading Homework

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!


Celebrate National Comic Book Day!

The first real comic book in America appeared in 1933 and was a book containing reprinted comic strips from earlier newspaper editions. Comics have come a long way since their beginning. Throughout the world comic books and graphic novels have become a growing source of literary enjoyment. Not sure what you think about the literary value of comics? If you are a little skeptical, consider these advantages that comic books and graphic novels can afford your children:

  • Boosts Vocabulary – You might be surprised to learn that comic books foster vocabulary development. If a child comes across an unfamiliar word when reading a comic, she can often figure out the meaning of the word by referring to the accompanying picture, thus boosting her vocabulary.
  • Improves Reading Comprehension – Learning to infer an author’s meaning is necessary for attaining good reading comprehension. As mentioned above, the sequencing illustration strips help kids to exercise inference in their reading.
  • Unintimidating – Many children find typical books with page after page of small text to be intimidating. With narratives that are broken up in smaller chunks, struggling readers may find the comic book format to be more manageable.
  • Unexpected – Many people have a narrow idea concerning comic book subject matter. Comics and graphic novels encompass multiple genres, including superhero, science-fiction, history, and biography.
  • Reluctant Reader Friendly – If you have a reluctant reader in your house, you may find that comics are a good reading resource. Comics are visually appealing with characters that children recognize and admire.

Have we convinced you of the benefits of reading comics yet? If so, here are a few comic book/graphic novel selections you may want to try:

BabyMouse (Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm) – Meet Babymouse, an imaginative, sassy, fun-loving rodent who dreams of glamour and being queen of the world! (ages 7-10)

Amulet (Kazu Kibuishi) – After their father dies, Emily and Navin move with their mom into the home of their deceased great grandfather. The kids must search for their mom after she is lured through a basement door of this strange house by an evil creature. This compelling graphic novel can get a little dark at times, so it’s definitely for older elementary school children. (ages 8-12)

Tiny Titans Vol. 1: Welcome to the Treehouse (Art Baltazar) – Kids will love these young D.C. Universe heroes! Find out what happens when the kids from Sidekick Elementary hang out in the Batcave one afternoon! (ages 7-10)

Abigail and the Snowman (Roger Langridge) – It can be hard making friends when you’re the new girl in town. Fortunately, Abigail meets a friendly Yeti named Claude and they become best friends! Will the two friends find Claude’s real home and be able to escape the “shadow men” who are chasing him? (ages 7 -10)

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists – Fifty famous cartoonists interpret and illustrate (in comic form) 50 classic nursery rhymes in this jewel of a book. (ages 3-8)

Surprise your reader with a comic book or graphic novel to celebrate Comic Book Day on September 25. Happy reading!

Celebrate National Book Lovers Day

National Book Lovers Day is August 9th, and while we think that every day is a great day to love books, this day is worthy of a little extra celebrating. Your family might be full of book lovers or perhaps you have more than one reluctant reader in your bunch. Whatever the current feeling is in your home about books, your family can benefit from a day of commemorating the written word. Red Apple Reading has a few suggestions for how your household can celebrate National Book Lovers Day.

Give a Book
When you give someone a book, it communicates to that individual that you value reading. What can be more appropriate on National Book Lovers Day than to gift someone with a book? Check out these different ways of getting a book into the hands of someone you love:

  • Visit the Library – You need not spend money in order to give a book. Simply taking your family to the public library is a fantastic way to give the gift of reading!
  • Host a Book Swap – Arrange a book swap with other families in your social circle. Tell friends to bring a couple of gently used books that they’ve already read to your gathering and swap titles with one another. Everyone will leave with a new-to-them book!
  • Surprise a Friend – Kids love to give surprise gifts. Buy a book for an elderly friend or other person who could use a treat and wrap it up in pretty gift paper. Your kids will love seeing the smile on their friend’s face when they deliver an unexpected present.

Have Some Fun
Have a little book-related family fun on National Book Lovers Day! Try out one of the following family friendly activities connected to reading.

  • Make Bookmarks – Gather up your art supplies and family around the kitchen table. Spend the evening creating one-of-a-kind book marks together. Everyone will leave with a new book mark as well as great memories from time spent together.
  • Guess the Book – After dinner, play these fun guessing games from Sporcle with one another. This quiz involves guessing characters from popular children’s books. In this second quiz, family members look at portions of popular children’s book covers and guess the title.

Of course one must spend time reading on National Book Lovers Day! Here’s a few different ways to get the family reading:

  • Designate Reading Time – Turn the television and gaming devices off and pick up a book. Designate an hour that is dedicated solely to reading.
  • Read Aloud – Gather everyone together and read a favorite book aloud to the family. Think your older children will balk at this idea? You’d be surprised at how much independent readers still enjoy being read to.
  • Listen to an Audio Book – If your family stays on the go during the week, try listening to an audio book. While you’re driving the kiddos to and from activities turn the book on and enjoy a story while traveling!

We hope you will try one or two of these celebration ideas. By the way, if you haven’t already tried Red Apple Reading, National Book Lovers Day is the perfect time to take the plunge. We know once you experience our 7 day free trial you and your kids will be hooked. Check us out today!


Enriching Your Child’s Summer Reading

Most high schools and some middle and elementary schools assign a list of books to be read before returning to school. So if you have school age children, chances are they are in the midst of their required reading. Many kids enjoy checking off their summer reading, but some (ahem, mine) chafe at the thought of being told what to read. Perhaps there is a way for parents to make the summer reading process more palatable for the kid who bucks against it as well as more enriching for the kid who enjoys it. Check out these summer reading enrichment activities from Red Apple Reading!

Watch the Movie – Let’s face it, when kids are assigned summer reading, most wonder if there is a movie based on the book they can watch instead. Let your kid know right away that you are all for him watching the movie – after they’ve completed reading the book! It may not be exactly what they had in mind, but it’s still fun to compare and contrast movie and book!

Visit a Museum – Many titles lend themselves well to a museum visit. For instance, if your kiddo is reading a World War II era book like The War that Saved My Life, you could plan a trip to a museum that has World War II exhibits.

Pair Book with Food – Who doesn’t enjoy eating? Help your child prepare a dish that is related to the book they are reading. When I found out my niece had been assigned Pride and Prejudice for her summer reading, I served an English tea one afternoon while she was visiting.

Arrange a Presentation – Let your kid prepare a fun presentation on the book she has read. Arrange a night when the whole family will be at home and have your child present a piece of artwork, a power point, a dramatic reading, or other creative summary of her book to the family.

Read Along – Why not read your child’s assigned book along with him? Check out an extra copy of the book so you can read it as well. This allows your child to discuss the plot and characters with someone else who knows what’s going on. It also naturally creates a great bonding opportunity for parent and child and communicates your interest in his activities.

Host a Book Club – If your kid has been assigned summer reading, chances are her friends have the same assignment. Arrange a book club meeting or two to allow the group to discuss the book together. Kids love to get together and if you serve some snacks for the occasion, they probably will be happy to eat them 😉

Take a Field Trip – Is there a nearby destination that pairs well with a book your child has to read? Trips to historical landmarks, festivals, plays, and re-enactments are just a few ways to supplement summer reading.

With a bit of creative thinking and planning you can help make your child’s required reading assignments a little more exciting and meaningful. Here’s hoping your kiddo’s summer reading is completed and enjoyed!