Today Colorado children awoke to a glistening white, cold morning. Classrooms were warm, filled with little voices reading; cold little fingers wrapped around pencils, and learning took on a dear quality. At the end of the day teachers bundled up students, sending them out the door for a cozy family evening.
With the snow comes the season that brings cozy evenings to snuggle down, read and explore books for pleasure with your children. It is also is a very reflective time. As your children, have the opportunity to read, night after night consider if they are enjoying their time with books? While, you as a family explore different authors and topics, are they developing a greater interest in reading and learning? Two of our goals for children are to enjoy reading for pleasure and information and to become stronger, more flexible successful readers.
It is important to give children the freedom of choice in what they read for pleasure. Letting them choose what they want to read is key to getting children motivated and excited about reading. Start with conversations at the dinner table about the sort of things your children like- cars, vampire sagas, comics, mysteries, fantasies, trivia books, biographies, books of sports statistics. Talk about how books can be great places to explore things that interest them.
To help them become a stronger and flexible reader help your children choose “Just-Right” books. For beginning readers the “five-finger rule” is an easy quick way to see if a book is a “Just Right,” book. As your child reads to you, have him count on one hand any unknown words. If there are five or more unknown words on a page, the book is too hard for your child to read alone, although you may still want to read it aloud. Your expert readers need to read several pages before deciding whether a book is too hard.
“Just-Right” books help children to learn, because they are not spending time decoding they are working on comprehension, understanding what is going on in the text. Here are some questions to ask your child. If their answer is yes, the book is probably a “Just-Right” book for them.
Why are you interested in reading this book?
Do you know about this subject, author, series, and genre?
Can you read almost all the words on the first page?
Do you sometimes need to reread a part to understand it?
Can you tell me what is happening in the story?
When you read are most places smooth and fun to read?
As your child experiences sitting with you on cozy evenings exploring topics of interest, new-to-them authors, and “Just Right” books you will not only be creating warm memories but you will be a reading model for your child. All that is required is a special time set aside to enjoy books; cookies and cocoa are optional.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”— Emilie Buchwald (Check out her fantastic books!)
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