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For Parents

"If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much." -Hesiod

Listed below are some general suggestions for things that parents can do to help support the reading growth of their children. These are general suggestions, meant to be useful for almost any child, and there may be other things your child's teacher will want you to do that are focused on the specific needs of your child. All of these suggestions come from research on the way children learn to read. If you do some of them regularly in a motivating and supportive way, they will help your child make faster progress in learning to read. Many of these activities, such as those that build vocabulary and teach children to think while they read, will also help your child ultimately be a much better reader than he or she might otherwise become.

Third Grade

Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to listen to your child read.

3. Go to the school library, public library, or to the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After you read each book, ask your child what the main character did or felt like at the end of the story. Ask if he/she has ever felt like the main character in the book. Why or why not?

4. Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books. It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.

5. Highlight or underline words that you can sound out from the day's "junk mail." Ask your child to read these words.

6. Make a simple recipe with him, allowing him to read each direction to you step by step so you'll "know what to do."

Fourth Grade

Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to listen to your child read.

3. Go to the school library, public library, or to the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After you read each book, talk about how it is similar to other books you have read together.

4. Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books. It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.

5. Have him read a book to a younger sibling (or even to a pet), perhaps playing "teacher" and asking the brother or sister good questions as he reads.

6. Have your child tell you a new word he has learned every single day. This word could be from a book he is reading, something you or the teacher said, or even a conversation that he heard at school. Talk about what it means then make up a sentence with the new word. If needed, use the dictionary to figure out what the word means. Play a game where each of you have to use the word in a sentence at least twice that day. Try to use the word again that week. Maybe add the words to a "my new vocabulary word list" and post it on the refrigerator.

Internet Resources

The Partnership for Reading: Bringing Scientific Evidence to Learning

Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers
http://www.pbs.org/launchingreaders/

Get Ready to Read: Tips and activities for parents with young children. http://www.getreadytoread.org/

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