I admit I may have a soft spot in my heart when it comes to getting boys to read. That's because I have two boys of my own and at different stages of their lives I worried they would not become the avid, lifelong readers I had set out so hard to help them become.
What did I do and what can you do to help boys who may be getting off to a slow start or tell you they aren't as interested in books as they are sports, video games, snacks, sleeping, and just about anything else they can think of?
Forward progress in reading is always the goal and critical to the foundation of success and the love of reading.
If your child encounters reading books as hard, stressful, and something she is not good at, she can quickly give up and decide that reading is just not for her. We know that reading fluency and comprehension is critical to the ability to thrive in all walks of life and to move forward in their education, so we cannot allow our children to get stuck.
There is no doubt that books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? are beloved by millions of readers around the world. While you may think these books are entertaining and simply written to capture a child's attention, there is much more going on under the surface. This is why we recommend predictable pattern books like these as anchor texts for your reading program. Let's dive into what makes these books a powerful tool in your toolkit.
Just as you would encourage your child to read with fluency, you should encourage and nurture fluent writing. This means allowing him to write freely without stopping to spellcheck every word. Teach your child that spelling, grammar, and word choice can be worked on later. The most important thing is to get their ideas flowing and onto paper.
Do you wonder if you should allow your child to reread favorite stories, or on the other hand, if you should allow them to choose their books? What about silly books like Captain Underpants - is that type of book really helping your child become a reader? And what if he's bored or hates the chapter book all the home-school curriculum suggest is good, classic literature?
When it comes to what's best for your readers we want to respect and abide by some basic guidelines we would give ourselves.
Many experts will recommend that you start with phonics readers only, move to I Can Read books, short chapter books, and then on to classic children's literature. I say, include all of the above AND anything your child is interested in reading or learning about! And don't forget joke books, and magazines, and encyclopedias, and websites, and poems too!
When it comes to teaching reading, a big rock should always be read-aloud time.
When read-aloud time is not negotiable and becomes a daily habit, there will always be time for other activities. The read-aloud is the cornerstone of literacy instruction and should always maintain its big rock placement.
The "second things" like flashcard practice, letter and sound activities, and handwriting development, will all fit better when the big rocks are in place.
Do you wonder if your child should read the same book multiple times? Is it okay to let them reread a book that is too easy? Yes and Yes.
Reading an easy book or a book they are familiar with is one of the best ways to practice fluency and build your child's confidence.
Fluent readers are able to comprehend what they read because their mind can pay attention to meaning instead of decoding.
Confident readers read more, and we all know what happens when children read more!
Did you know that phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success? This is so important that we don't want you to skip or discount the activities that promote phonemic awareness. Keep reading for ideas on how to develop this awareness for your child.