It’s hard to believe first semester is wrapping up! I’ve been at it since the beginning of August, so I must admit, I am looking forward to the opportunity to relax and refresh!
As you know, I write for our school’s Parent Newsletter. Here is the most recent column; I encourage you to share what I’ve written as a way to offer reading suggestions to parents over Christmas (yep, I said it!) break. Go ahead and make copies on festive paper and write a little holiday note to each of your students. Then, as they walk out the door, give them their own personal letter – they will appreciate that you are thinking of them, and parents will appreciate the suggestions!
Remember, even Santa double-checks his list, using literacy skills to make sure all those presents are delivered!!
As semester exams wind down and the winter break draws near, your teen has the opportunity to relax and refresh. Encourage him/her to read this holiday break; a graphic novel, a magazine article, something that he/she has chosen and something that interests him/her. According to Dr. Richard Allington, professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, there are six elements of effective reading instruction. They are:
- Every child reads something he or she chooses.
At some time every day, your teen should be able to choose what he/she wants to read. The experience of simply choosing a book boosts motivation. In addition, giving your teen choice makes it more likely that he/she will choose a pick he or she can read well.
- Every child reads accurately.
Good readers read with accuracy almost all the time. They read quickly and with expression. Perhaps more important, they are likely to understand what they read—and, as a result, to enjoy reading.
- Every child reads something he or she understands.
Understanding what you’ve read is the goal of reading. All readers need books they can actually read accurately, fluently, and with understanding.
- Every child writes about something personally meaningful.
Writing provides a different opportunity to practice the skills and strategies of reading for a real purpose. They have to think about what words will best convey their ideas to their readers. They have to make sure they use punctuation in a way that will help their readers to understand which words go together, where a thought starts and ends, and what emotion goes with it.
- Every child talks with peers about reading and writing.
Ask your son or daughter to share what they’ve read with their brother, sister or with a friend. When kids talk with a peer in literate conversations for even 10 minutes a day, they are able to improve their reading scores!
- Every child listens to a fluent adult read aloud.
Listening to an adult model fluent reading increases your teen’s own fluency and comprehension skills, as well as expanding their vocabulary, background knowledge, sense of story, awareness of genre and text structure, and comprehension of the texts read. Spend time reading to each other!
Relax, refresh and read!