• Ways to Support Reading at Home


    1.     Be a reading model for your child. Set aside time for the whole family to read. Share your reading life with your child. For example, talk about your favorite books as a child.


    2. Help your child start a library. Create a shelf for your child’s books and give books as gifts on special occasions. Visit local book fairs and browse the books with your child. This way you can get wonderful books at a fraction of the cost.


    3. Talk with your child about what he is reading. Have informal relaxed discussions with your child about books. Encourage your child to support his thoughts and opinions with evidence from the text.


    4. Ask your child to retell what he has read. Listen for important characteristics of a good retelling:

    ·      uses character names (characters)

    ·      tells where the story takes place (setting)

    ·      includes important parts of the story (plot)

    ·      uses an interesting voice (fluency)

    ·      checks with the book to see if anything was missed (text evidence).

    ·      checks with the book to see if he understood everything (comprehension)


    5. Make reading fun! Read aloud to your child and read with your child often, so he can appreciate the joy of reading a good book.


    The Keys to Comprehension

    This year my students will be taught that reading is thinking and understanding. They will receive instruction that specifically teaches and nurtures the use of widely agreed upon reading strategies. For a more in depth understanding of these strategies I highly recommend reading 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann. Below is a brief description of each strategy as I have interpreted them.

    Good readers . . .

    1.    Visualize: create a movie in their mind as they read (i.e complete with all the sensory details that sight, sound, touch, smell and taste can provide) and become emotionally involved with what they read.

    2.   Make Connections: use background knowledge from their experiences and texts that they’ve read to enhance their understanding.

    3.   Ask Questions: generate questions before, during and after reading to clarify meaning, develop inferences, make predictions and focus on what’s important.

    4.   Determine Importance: identify key ideas or themes in their reading.

    5.   Synthesize: put information together and modify their thinking as more information is gained. They can also retell or summarize what they’ve read to get the overall meaning.

    6.   Make inferences: seek answers to questions and draw conclusions based on their individual interpretations and prior knowledge.

    7.   Use Fix-Up Strategies:  ask themselves does what I’m reading make sense, sound right, and look right. They recognize when they don’t comprehend, and they use a variety of problem-solving strategies to understand what they’re reading. For example, they reread, they read ahead to figure out the meaning of a word, they look at the pictures for clues, and they think about what they already know to clarify meaning.