Tag Archives: reading skills

Improve Reading Skills: Put It Into Context

Good readers often have a hard time understanding the book that they are reading. This is true even when the child understands each and every word that is in the book. This is because they don’t understand the context of the material they are reading. It often happens when the story is set in a time period that the child is unfamiliar with. It’s not unusual for a reader to have a hard time when they are reading works of literature that have been transcribed from a foreign language.

The single mom can help her good reader stay interested with open communication. Discuss books that the kids are reading with your child. If you’ve already read the book, share your thoughts and feelings about it and encourage your child to share their favorite parts of the story with you. Make sure that your family knows that you are available to answer any questions they may have as they read.

If you see that your child is confused with the story, you may have to help by encouraging your young reader to find out more about the time period the piece is set in. It’s unfortunate that many schools don’t teach context in literature along with English and reading skills, because it would help the child understand why something a villain does in the book seems so appalling when the reader sees it as a perfectly acceptable act. The opposite is also true. The hero or heroine often says or does something that would be unacceptable in today’s society, causing confusion and interrupting the enjoyable flow of a well written book.

Sometimes the child needs more information on the culture of the characters in the book. Remember that even if the story is set against an American background, there are many family traditions that your child may not be familiar with. If the plot involves people with different religions, upbringings or, in some cases, social status, the differences in the readers’ situation and the circumstances of the characters in the book may cause confusion.

It’s important to remember that the author shapes the story to his or her whim. Personal life experience of the writer often must be understood by the reader to fully understand the written work. Subtleties in theme and motif can seem confusing fluff to a story and distract a reader who tries to figure out what they mean.

Younger readers, especially, may wonder at the freedom the young hero of the book enjoys. The preteen hero may go searching the neighborhood for his lost pet after dark. The child in the book may also jump on his bicycle and pedal all over town looking for friends to help his solve a mystery. In today’s world many children are confined to a fenced in back yard or told they can visit friends who live on the same block. It’s just too dangerous for them to have the freedom of the character in the book and they have to understand why so that the discrepancy doesn’t keep them from immersing themselves into the story.

Once the credibility of the story line is lost, most kids react the same way as their parents do. They simply lose interest.

Family Night: Have You Played “The Game of Life”?

The Game of Life isn’t really about real life at all. It’s about playing and having fun while the kids think they are making adult decisions in the real world. The Hasbro game is usually better known simply as Life and is a board game for 2 to 6 players. Although it’s recommended for ages 9 to adult, younger children will enjoy the game as long as they have someone to help them read as they follow the maze to the end.

Players spin the wheel to determine how many spaces their game piece, a car, will move and follow the directions printed on the square they land on. Early in the game the player can choose a career path directly out of high school or a path that will lead to an education degree. Some of the career choice in the game depends on education. Don’t expect the path chosen to increase the end result of the game. Many parents are surprised that the lucky young player who decides to start immediately down the career path ends up winning the game. Some parents set rules in advance that everyone has to choose the education route in case the youngster takes the game too seriously and gets the idea that higher education isn’t necessary in real life.

Along the way, forward progress is stopped for things like marriage and children. These are not optional. Choices can be made on the type of home to buy. They range from expensive mansions to inexpensive trailers. The player can also choose from careers that they are qualified for, depending on their education. The amount each player receives on payday is listed on the career card that they choose. Some careers have an added benefit of being supplemented by players as they land on certain squares or spin a certain number on the wheel.

Life disasters can be avoided with the purchase of insurance policies. Players can also purchase stock and take out promissory notes. The banker handles the financial transactions by handling the money. To make it easier for the younger kids, the cash is in easy to calculate amounts of $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000 and $100,000.

As players approach the end of the road, they can choose to retire at Countryside Acres or Millionaire Estates.

Success in the game depends more on luck than skill. Math and reading are needed to play this board game, but a patient family can help with the little ones who have not yet mastered these skills. The decisions that players make about education and insurance have little effect on winning the game.

The Game of Life is a classic board game that many single moms will remember from there own childhood. The game has been around for 50 years, although slight changes have been made to the game as new versions have been released.

Reader Response Technique for Your Child

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.

Predicting
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?

Questioning
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.

Visualizing
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?

Retell
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.

Reading Skills Of Your Children Shouldn’t Be Compared To Others

Many parents are overly concerned about comparing the child’s reading skills to other kids the same age. While reading skills benefit most areas of life, many children show aptitudes in other areas of reading besides just memorizing the words.

Reading skill levels are based on classroom averages. It makes it easier for the schools to teach by having children grouped by overall reading skills, but this comparison doesn’t accurately depict how well the child retains what they are reading.

Some kid’s do well reading out loud to their parents or in front of the classroom. Their sentences flow and they seldom struggle with the words. But, when they reach the end of the page or the story, they have no idea what they just read.

Others struggle when they read aloud. It could be shyness or lack of confidence. But, this same child might be able to recap the entire story he has read silently.

The age when children are ready to read also happens at different stages of childhood. Those parents who have more than one child know that while one of the kids is always ready to snuggle in for a reading session, the other child may be more interested in dancing after rainbows.

The main focus should be on making reading as rewarding as possible for each child. Learn about the different tools that can be used by the child learning to read. If a word seems to be giving the child problems, it’s okay to help them out if the word seems unusually difficult. Just don’t get in the habit of providing the answer before the child has had a chance to discover the answer for himself.

If the child has a hard time recognizing the word by sounding it out, suggest other tips that will help him increase his reading ability.

Encourage the child to look for a hint to the word in the illustration on the page. It’s not cheating; it’s a tool the child can use to solve a problem.

Encourage the child to skip over the word and continue reading to the end of the sentence or paragraph. This gives the child a sense of what the word might be when he comes back to it to work it out.

A child often feels that they are only capable of reading school materials. Once they realize that they can read the back of the cereal box, their whole world can open up as they push boundaries to read more exciting things. Speak with the teacher or librarian about books that might interest your child.