Tag Archives: Reading

Fathers Should Read Every Day With Their Children

Children should be read to every day at home, no exceptions, no excuses! Children are read to at school every day, but nothing can take the place of mom or dad reading a story every night… especially right before bedtime.  When I was teaching first grade, along with the daily reading instruction that was taking place in my classroom, I was required to give a standardized reading test individually to each and every child twice a year.  One of the first questions that I was required to ask during the reading test was “Who reads with you at home”.  A few children always said ‘no one’ but the remaining children always answered immediately with “mom”.   Not once in all of the times that I gave this test (we’re talking hundreds of test sessions) did a child every say ‘dad’.  Dads, where are you when your child is being read to, or reading outloud at night? Your child needs YOU, or an uncle, or a grandfather who is available every day to read to your child.  Dad, your child needs to see that you value books, the ability to read and enjoy them, and the process in which your child will become a lifelong reader. Dads, think about the message that you are sending your child when you are not involved at all in the reading process.  You may not realize it but the message that your child is receiving is that you do not put any value or importance on reading and the ability to learn to read.  Think about it.  Is this really the message that you want to send your very impressionable young child?  I don’t think so.  Start tonight… Start a new evening tradition, grab a book, a comfy reading spot (chair or bed) and surprise your child with the wonder of a story read by dad.  You will be happy after the story and I guarantee that your child will even be happier than you will be. 


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Reading Oath

This week we are celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday at my school.  In today’s homework packet the children received a reading oath.  They are being asked to turn off the TV/ or turn off the video games one day this week and read!! Then child and parent sign the oath to say that it was accomplished.  I am the child of a children’s librarian so being asked to read when I was growing up was never an issue at our house.  We were surrounded by books and loved reading every free minute we had.  It makes me sad that as teachers we have to assign reading as part of homework.  Most of my first graders would not read for pleasure if it was not part of their homework.  When I read the oath today and told them that they were being asked to turn off the TV/or video games for one day this week, there was a loud collective groan from my class.  If I had my way there would be no TV or video games or computers at all during the school week.  Really!! Parents, fill your home with books (books on ipads or computers count as long as there is reading going on and nothing else) so your child is able to grab a book to read whenever he/she wants to read.  Only you can see that your child gets the love of reading at a very young age and when that happens, he/she will love reading for life.


Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Parents, Reading

15 Minute Reading Activities

Fifteen-Minute Reading Activities

by the National PTA

Make 15 minutes go a long way. Try these quick reading activities with your younger kids.

1. License to read. On car trips, make it a game to point out and read license plates, billboards, and interesting road signs.

2. Better than TVSwap evening TV for a good action story or tale of adventure.

3. Look and listen. Too tired to read aloud? Listen to a book on CD and turn the book’s pages with your children. You also can find books on your ipad.  You’ll still be reading with them!

4. Labels, labels, labels. Label things in your children’s room as they learn to name them. Have fun while they learn that written words are connected to everyday things.

5. Pack a snack, pack a book. Going someplace where there might be a long wait? Bring along a snack and a bag of favorite books.

6. Recipe for reading. The next time you cook with your children, read the recipe with them. Step-by-step instructions, ingredients, and measurements are all part of words in print!

7. Shop and read. Notice and read signs and labels in the supermarket. Back home, putting away groceries is another great time for reading labels.

8. Your long-distance lap. Away on a business trip? Take a few books with you, call home, and have your child curl up by the computer/ipad/phone for a good night story.

9. A reading pocket. Slip fun things to read into your pocket to bring home: a comic strip from the paper, a greeting card, or even a fortune cookie from lunch. Create a special, shared moment your child can look forward to every day.

10. A little longer? When your child asks to stay up a little longer, say yes and make it a 15-minute family readingopportunity.


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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Reading

Conferences The Last Few Weeks of School? Really?

There are 21 days left of first grade.  This means that we have been in school for 158 days!! Wow! My 4th quarter interims went home last week and I will soon begin working on the final report card of first grade.  So what happened this week after the interims went home…several requests for conferences came in! What? With 21 days left of school.  The biggest concern of many parents is the grades that their children are receiving.  Personally, I wish that I did not have to give grades to first graders, but I do.  Parents on the other hand love the grades, and expect perfection from their 6 and 7 year olds.  When a child is not getting top grade, parents want to know why…. Reading always seems to be the one subject area that parents are looking for a higher grade than what their child takes home.

Every week in my newsletter I ask parents to listen to their child read aloud each and every day.  Many parents don’t think that I mean them. I have many reasons for this request:

  1.  The children read aloud to me when we are in small reading groups AND when they sit with me to take a Reading test.
  2. Young readers, who read exclusively to themselves, develop bad habits and they don’t disappear during a reading test. These bad habits include but are not limited to: the omission of words, or entire sentences, the lack of attention to punctuation, misreading a word and missing the meaning of the sentence, not paying attention to plurals and the list goes on.
  3. Parents need to hear the story that is being read by their child so that they (the parents) can ask comprehension questions AND ask their child to retell the story using as much detail as possible.
  4. Retelling MUST be practiced every day in order to develop a better sense of how to do it.

Time after time after time, I hear from parents (even though they are asked to listen to their reader at home) that their child reads on his/her own without an adult nearby.  REALLY?? Why??  I can tell who is reading at home with an adult and who is not.  Some readers have not made the progress that parents had anticipated because although I read often with their child, I cannot do it alone. Parents, first grade teachers cannot emphasize enough:  READ with your child! Every day!

Having a conference at this late date is not going to change your child’s grade.  Sorry.  Finding out how to have your child reach perfection is also not going to happen.  Children are not perfect, neither are we and if anything, the children are losing their steam and may have already reached an academic peak for the year.  What I hope that parents get from their conferences this week and next, and from this blog is that they have a responsibility to help their children become better readers. Your child is unable to do it alone; even though to you it may appear that he/she is a good reader.  Listen to your child read and then ask questions, I guarantee that you will be surprised at what you hear. Then you may understand how your child gets the grades that he/she earns at school.

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May 17, 2012 · 5:40 pm

Read To Your Child EVERY DAY!

I came across an article that listed the top 10 ways to improve Reading Skills.  I have attached the link to the site here but I find it very rewarding that the NUMBER ONE way to improve reading skills is to:

Set aside a regular time to read to your child EVERY day!! No excuses, parents, every day!!


Year after year, I have told parents the same thing.  Children learn by example.  Parents, your children MUST see and listen to you reading to them every day.  You are a positive role model for your child’s success with reading.  When they see/hear their parents reading, the children want to become better readers as well.  I believe that I have heard every possible excuse about why a parent cannot read to his/her child.  No time, got home late, child had homework to do, dinner was late, child/or parent is tired…and the list goes on.  The number one excuse that most parents give is ‘my child can already read and they don’t need me anymore’.  Chances are they cannot read as well as you think that they can (but that is a topic for another blog).  Your child needs you at the end of a busy day and you need him/her.  Reading together is a perfect way to relax and enjoy time together before the lights go out and all too soon it will be the start of another busy day.

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Making Connections

I have begun to formally give my first graders their first reading test.  I am preparing to make class reading groups and am testing on many different skills.  Not only, do they have to read a text to pass to the next level they must also be able to make a connection.  Parents often ask, what exactly does that mean? When a child is finished reading a story or a book, we will ask what did this book make you think of.  What Connection were you able to make?  We want the children to be able to say “This text makes me think about….” We want to activate prior knowledge and to have the child become more of an active reader, not just have the ability to call out words.  In first grade and in years to come your child will be learning about 3 types of connections.

  1. Text to Text: This is when the book that has just been read reminds your child about another book that he/she has read, or that you have read to him/her.
  2. Text to Self: This is when the book that has just been read reminds your child about a personal experience that relates to the book.
  3. Text to World: This is when the book that has just been read reminds your child about an experience that he/she has heard about, talked about or perhaps seen on TV or in a movie or text in relationship to the world.

Here is a list of picture books that can be used for modeling Making Connections that I found online and hope that it can be helpful to you when you practice Making Connections with your child.


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Main Idea

Kindergartners have been working on the main idea of a story all year long.  In Kindergarten we help them to think and learn to narrow their thoughts to include only the main idea.  When these Kindergartners go to first grade, it will be expected that they will understand about the main idea of a story.  Sometimes they do get it and sometimes they don’t, but we work on it all of the time.  When you read to your child, your child reads to you, or your child reads to himself/herself, please be sure and ask your child to tell you about the main idea of the story.  You will be able to tell right away if your child is on the right track and if they aren’t help your job is to help guide them to the appropriate main idea. Young children need to learn that the main idea is not retelling the entire story from start to finish but being able to explain a few of the main points of the story.  This is especially important if your child is already reading to himself/herself as many of these beginning readers only read words and cannot tell you anything about the story.  Give it a try the next time you read to your child and see if he/she can tell you the main idea of the story.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading