One of the best ways to engage little readers on a cold, blustery day is to work on their reading comprehension. By picking out a good book that sparks their interest, and incorporating a few questions about the content, you will start to see the wheels turning and your child think more critically about what they’re reading.
Hoot Reading Blog
Creating Confident Learners
Elizabeth Hawkins Lincoln
While school testing can be an enjoyable experience for some, for other students (and parents too!) it can be worrisome and downright painful. I remember taking a standardized test annually and yet, it was one of my favourite weeks of the year! Testing week meant special snacks and any extra time was filled with drawing or reading. Plus, we often had extra recess. Of course, there were also weekly and monthly tests, depending on the subject. I didn’t care too much for those!
The start of the school year is a balancing act. For some families, the kids might be grudgingly smiling in those first day photos, after all, summer was great and now it’s over. While summer was also amazing for parents, you may find yourself holding back that “happy dance” in front of your kids. My youngest started Kindergarten this year and I felt a great sense of freedom when I walked out of her school on the first day. I knew she was just going to rock it, and I had no qualms (don’t ask me about dropping off my older daughter on her first day of Kindergarten. I was a mess!). It’s not all butterflies and rainbows though, and adjusting to new classrooms, teachers, and routines can be tough on the whole family.
In the late 80s, I was a middle school kid who spent 10 minutes a night working on weekly vocabulary words for my English class. I would memorize words and definitions to the tune of common songs. I started with easy stuff such as “You Are My Sunshine,” and when I ran out of basic songs over the course of a semester, I would put on my parents old vinyl records (Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle) and learn the vocabulary words to a more interesting tune. I took my “exam” at the end of the week, and all I needed was to recall the tunes I’d used to study vocabulary words. Amazingly, the definitions just spilled onto my page and I came home with near perfect scores each time. Looking back, this was an example of learning through an aural or auditory method.
One way to engage readers over the summer months is to work on comprehension skills. Fairy tales are one of the many forms of literature that fall into the public domain, allowing rewriting and modification to occur without copyright infringement. There are countless versions of Cinderella for example, that we’ll be using in our fairy tale comparison comprehension activity.
So, You’ve Got a Reluctant Reader?
Your daughter comes home from school, hungry, bouncing off the walls, and the last thing she wants to do is open a book. Maybe your son is shy about reading aloud at school because he stumbles through the words and the last thing he wants is to read to you at home and face more corrections. Maybe they sigh and tell you that reading is boring. Whatever your particular scenario, you see a reluctant reader in your house. I’ve got good news for you – I’m here to help!
A Note to Parents
If you want to work on reading at home, but are stuck for ideas, we’ve created an easy reading game that you can print out and play with your kids one evening or weekend! Rhyming Bingo provides a fun twist on standard sight word bingo that will stretch newer readers. Rhyming Bingo helps kids become more familiar with foundational sight words and their understanding of how the vowel teams and word families work together. The ability to identify and create rhymes is an important component of healthy phonological awareness. These two particular sets of Bingo Cards are for children in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, but keep checking back for future activities for older kids.