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What is Reading?

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Here are some things you can do to help your child become a successful reader!

  • Read to and with your child every day. Even older children love to be read to!
  • Ask your child to read to you!
  • When you read aloud to your child, read with expression. This modeling is very effective in helping young readers hear how it should sound.
  • Ask questions about what is being read to make sure your child understands what they are reading. Ask them how they book relates to things they know or things in their own life (making connections).
  • Revisit familiar and favorite stories often! Reading repetitions help children become confident readers!
  • Make sure your child has access to books and lots of them. Visit the library, plan book swaps with other families, ask about lending libraries from the classroom teacher, participate in school book clubs- the prices are great! Give books as gifts and ask others to give them as well.  Offer to get a magazine subscription for your child. Everyone loves to get mail!
  • Start a book club with your child (and other family members). Everyone reads the same book.  Designate a day once a week to discuss the book. Put out some snacks, comfy pillows and blankets and share your thoughts about the book. Take turns reading aloud. If you and your family members are crafty making a book related project can be a great way to extend the learning! Try turning the book into a mini-play or puppet show!
  • Make sure your child has a quiet place to read. Invite them in helping create this space.
  • Make reading a priority in your home.  If you read, your children will want to read too!

When Your Child Comes To An Unknown Word

Often we tell children to "sound out"  unknown words. Often this is successful and the word is decoded. When sounding it out doesn't work, someone (an adult or a friend) usually tells what the word is and the reader continues.

However, if sounding out doesn't work, the reader needs to have other strategies in their tool box to help figure out unknown words.

Guess the Covered Word Strategy
(From Four-Blocks Literacy Model developed by Pat Cunningham and Dorothy Hall)

This is a strategy we practice in class.  It teaches students to ask three questions when they find an unknown word.  Cover the word to keep you place (use your finger or a small sticky paper). 

  • Ask:  What makes sense?

  • Look at the word and ask: How long is the word?

  • Ask: What is the beginning letter(s) and the other letters in the word?

Some Other Things To Try

  • Wait 5-10 seconds to see what attempts are made.  Ask: "What would make sense there?"
  • Use the picture to help figure out the word.
  • Skip the word and continue reading to end of line or sentence.
  • Go back and read sentence again.
  • If the word was on a previous page, go back and try to find it
  • Look for a smaller word in a big one.
  • Cover the ending (-ed, -ing) with your finger and try word.
  • Look how the word begins. Let the sound "pop" right out.
  • Help with blending (sounding it out).
  • Tell the word and keep on reading.

It is important that children learn to use these strategies independently. When your child "figures out" a word, you might ask how he/she did it. Telling about their reading strategies  helps to reinforce learning and learning tools.



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Last Updated on 01/26/2007