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OTHER ITA SITES:
Beyond The Abcs : Nurturing A Love Of Reading
In recent years, parents have heard a lot in the media about what is lacking in our school system, and how so many of today�s kids can�t read. When I worked with upper grade students as an elementary Reading Specialist, the truth was almost all of my students could technically read. They had learned phonics and appeared to be readers. But what many of them didn't have was an understanding of what they were reading. Instead of more phonics instruction, these students needed to learn how to think.
As reading becomes more complex many children begin to struggle simply because they focus too much on sounding out words and they don't take the time to think about what they are reading. When this happens, reading becomes something kids feel they have to do rather than something they want to do.
The good news is, parents can teach their children how to think, even when they are young, and nurture a love of reading at home by moving beyond phonics, beyond the basics, beyond the ABCs.
As parents, we need to encourage our children to make connections to help them discover how personal the reading experience can be. Personal connections can help children remember what they�ve read and increase the likelihood that they will be more thoughtful readers down the road. But most of all children who make connections when they read are more likely to enjoy the reading experience and develop a lifetime reading habit.
To encourage your child to make connections, try using some of the following phrases when reading aloud to your child:
� �That reminds me of�.�
or prompt them with a question like�
� �Do you remember when we did that�.�?
Being curious, asking questions and wondering about things are the foundation to developing an inner desire to read and learn. Our personal questions make us want to read and learn more so we can figure things out.
One way parents can encourage children to think and ask their own questions when reading is to use the phrase, �I�m wondering�..� This phrase provides children with a model of what good thinking sounds like and, over time, children will eventually use this phrase themselves. Here is an example of what an adult might say during a read aloud:
�I�m wondering how the little boy is going to figure this out.�
You can also prompt children to ask thoughtful questions, by simply saying, �What are you wondering about?� Your child�s question might lead to a good discussion, or you might simply respond with �Great question. Let�s keep reading and maybe we�ll find out.�
Visualizing personalizes reading and helps keep readers engaged in the story. Visualizing requires young children to listen closely to the words of the story, because it is the words that help bring the pictures to life. As children transition to longer texts there are fewer pictures, or none at all, and they must pay attention to the details to create an interesting image in their mind.
Parents can encourage children to visualize by saying, �I can really picture that in my mind, can you?� or �Close your eyes and listen while I read. Then tell me what you see in your mind.� It is also helpful if parents use lots of expression and interesting character voices when they read aloud. Doing this helps bring the story to life.
A prediction is basically a guess, based on previous knowledge and the clues given in the story. When a reader makes a prediction it means they are paying attention to the details in the story and thinking beyond the words on the page. As they continue to read, good readers will confirm or dismiss old predictions and make new ones, when appropriate.
When reading aloud, parents and teachers can encourage children to make predictions by simply asking, �What do you think is going to happen next?� Parents and teachers should also make their own predictions when reading with children to demonstrate what good readers do. Here are some helpful words & phrases you can use when making a prediction.
�I bet he�s going to�.�
After making a prediction, try to explain why you made that guess. This will help children learn that a good prediction isn�t a random guess, rather it�s an educated guess based on logical thinking.
Remember, reading is much more than sounding out words; reading is thinking. When children learn how to think about what they are reading, they are able to be successful learners in school and beyond!
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