Time to Take Reading to Another Level
When you tell your child to read a book does the scenario remind you of making them remain at the dinner table to finish their vegetables? The whining, pleading, tears...not too pleasant right? I love, love to read. I have always loved to get lost in a story. I am hoping to pass the same love for stories onto our three. So far so good. Still, when told they should read a book outside of the regular school week day I can quickly get a: ‘Aww ma!’. The name of the game right now in schools is standardized testing. I don’t care if it’s elementary, middle or high at some point in time all of our three will take a standardized test to prove to somebody that they know something and should thus be allowed to get into somewhere (i.e. magnet program, college, honors classes). Reading then is a skill that is consistently tested from kindergarten until they enter college – and shoot, beyond too. Reading skills are most definitely required in college. Professors may assign up to one hundred pages to read a week. Not to mention if and when our children enter graduate school. Reading is definitely a must there too – anyone ever taken the GRE (a special test with special reading sections to say the least?) Unfortunately underdeveloped reading skills for children of color happen early. This is in part due to the fact that 78% of African Americans and 68% of Hispanic families read to their children three times a week, in comparison to 91% of Whites and 87% of Asian/Pacific Islanders. The result is what we see in school reading scores. For example, from a 2014 study - Race for results: Building a Path to Opportunity for all Children, children of color are behind in reading as early as 4th grade.
% of Fourth Graders Who Scores Proficient in Reading - National Average 34%
- American Indian 22%
- Latino 19%
- African American 17%
- White 45%
- Asian and Pacific Islander 51%
For the Big Kids:
- If your tween or teen is not a fan of books start off small. Perhaps magazines of interest. Eventually ease them into books of interest. Are they fascinated by LeBron James or Beyoncé’? Find books about them reserve 10-15 minutes reading time at night.
- Make money as an incentive- well sort of. Have your tween or teen set up a website where they are able to give book reviews. Who knows where their fabulous book reviews will lead.
- Help set up a book club. Perhaps you and other moms can read the book and then get together with a group of your tween/teens friends. You provide the snacks and maybe the movie version of the book to watch and review once they've completed the book.
For the elementary kids:
- Choose books of interest.
- If you are not used to reading in your every day schedule I would say make it like a commitment or lifestyle change to exercise. It has been said that doing anything for 21 days (I’ve also heard 40 too) will become a habit. Make a chart a be sure to read every day for 21 (or 41) days. Before you know it reading will become a daily habit that you/kids absolutely cannot break.
- Encourage writing a story of their own with illustrations!
- Encourage re-writing the ending to a story they really liked.
- Though they may look big, elementary kids are never too old to be read to.
For the Preschool and Kindergarten kids:
- Choose books of interest.
- Take the time to look at cover of book and ask your child what they think they story will be about.
- Point out the author and illustrator and explain how they contribute to the story.
- When reading a story encourage the use of print and picture clues, his to help make sense of the story.
- Sound out letters while reading.
- Ask them to re-tell the story – and don’t leave out any details!