Reader Response Technique for Your Child

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by Patrice on April 20, 2011 · 0 comments

in Techniques

Proper reading skills involve a lot more than just being able to sound out words that are in a sentence. The whole reason for learning how to read is to gain something from the material read. This is true whether the writing is read to find a specific answer or when reading for entertainment.

A technique used in many schools to gauge a students reading retention ability can also be used by parents at home to satisfy them that their child is reading on an ongoing basis and that they understand what they are reading. It is called the reader response technique.

As your child reads or is read to, let them predict where the story is going. What is the main character going to do next? What is the likely outcome of the book?

Is there an unexplained circumstance in the story? Did one of the characters react in a strange way? Did something happen in the story that the child does not understand? Some stories are intentionally written to cause questions and raise the suspense level of the story, but many times the reader just failed to understand or completely missed an important point. Encouraging the child to wonder why will help the teacher or parent recognize the difference.

When a reader really gets into a story, they imagine what the characters look like. If the story is well written, they can even imagine the scenery. What did your child imagine while reading or listening to the story.

Making Connections
Is there anything in the material read that reminds the reader of a personal experience that they can relate to? Did the same thing happen to them or to someone they know? Did the pet in the story act the same way as the family pet did in a similar circumstance?

Let the child tell you about what was read after the session. Encourage the child to talk about not only what was in the latest chapter, but in the entire book so far.

If the child does most of the reading at daycare, you can still share the reading response by making a log for the child to fill out.

Have the child log the date, title of the book, minutes read and the reading response.

An option to the reading log is a pad of sticky notes. As the child reads the book, observations can be made and the note stuck on the page. This is helpful when the child reads books that are beyond their maturity level. Often the definition of a word or the meaning of a phrase is not known. This doesn’t only happen with kids. Adults often run across something that puzzles them in their recreational reading. Just as we seldom leave our reading to grab a dictionary, the likelihood of the child doing so low.

If the child regularly uses these tactics and is reluctant to share their observations, that’s fine. In fact, if they are responding to the reading material on a personal level that they don’t want to share, it means that they are really identifying with the book.

About Patrice

Patrice Campbell is a freelance writer working from the Denver area. Campbell started her writing career in the 1980’s, working for several Wisconsin local papers as a news, human interest and features writer, as well as a photographer.

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