Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Helping Parents Help their Kids Love to Read

Stage 1

Expose child to picture books. Use picture books and sign language to expose child to books and vocabulary. Give the child time to see the pictures. At this age focus on letting the child be comfortable looking at books and looking at you. This also is good practice for the parent!

Have fun with the story. Do more than just look at the pictures. Find some toys that your child could touch and interact with to recreate the story. Ex: Noah and the Flood could be recreated with a boat and some animals. Goldilocks and the Three Bears could be a good excuse to have oatmeal for breakfast with your teddy bears.

Stage 2

Read books with more words. Don’t stop reading picture books, but add some stories with longer storylines. Sign the story meaning, not word-for-word translation.

Act out stories. Get some costumes and act out some simple stories.

Answer and ask questions. Take time to answer your child’s questions about the book. Ask some simple comprehension questions to make sure your child understands the story. Could also ask questions to help the child guess what might happen next.

Stage 3

Sign and read the story. First sign the story to them and make sure that the story is understood. Once the child can answer questions regarding the story, go back and read the English. Remember to fingerspell the author and title of the books too!

Dictation. Have the child sign you a story all their own and you write in English order. Have the child illustrate the story. Put it together in book form. You can use a folder or staples. Then help the child read the story back to you. By this I mean have them sign the story back using the pictures as cues and then help the child read the English words. Even if some of the words are advanced you can still expose your child to them. It’s not going to be a word your child doesn’t use in his vocabulary because he wrote the story.

Play Games. This is a great time to start playing games to enforce reading practice. Ex: Create a treasure hunt game by writing a word at your child’s reading level on an index card. Maybe write car, then the child would go to the car to find the next clue, which may be bed, then the child would go to a bed to find the next clue and so on. Once the child reaches the last clue it would lead to a surprise. This is fun, but also gives the child a use for his knowledge of reading.

Comprehension Drawings. After a story has been signed to the child, have the child draw a picture of an event in the book. This gives the parent a glimpse into how the child perceived the story.

Stage 4

Repeat above, just add to it. Play the games, read more stories, continue dictation exercises, act out stories, and continue comprehension questions and drawings. All of these are so important, but remember to make it fun and meaningful or your child may lose interest in books.

Write Stories. During dictation have the student write their own stories. Don’t correct spelling at first. Encourage writing first, then work on grammar issues. Once the written storyline is mastered, then have them re-write it with the correct grammar and spelling.

Expose to Classics. Be sure to expose your child to literature classics. Use movies sparingly, but they can help create a picture sometimes. Do lots of projects that help re-create the book. Ex: If reading Little House of the Praire Series make butter, visit a running farm house, sew a small quilt, etc.

Expose to varying types of print. Make sure your child is aware of newspapers, magazines, poetry (ASL poetry included), novels, biographies, picture books, non-fiction, road signs, advertisements, closed captioning, etc.

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