March is reading month, and with it being right around the corner I felt like this is the perfect time to share some knowledge with all my lovely readers. As some you know I taught just outside of Chicago for several years before moving back to Michigan. I have two degrees - both of which are in education. My undergrad is in early childhood with an emphasis on language arts and my masters is as a reading specialist with an emphasis on special education. So you could say I know a thing or two about how to make your child a reader. And trust me... ALL children can learn to read at some capacity or another! It’s all about how we look at readers.
I think the thing that makes my blood boil the most is when I hear parents say, “my kid just isn’t a reader’ or ‘my kid doesn’t like to read’. WAIT, WHAT! What do you mean your kid is not a reader? What do you mean your kid doesn’t like to read? This is something we can fix and it’s really simple. Not to mention a life skill that is extremely valuable.
Let’s start by thinking about ourselves as readers. Yes, We can all read, clearly, or you wouldn’t be here reading what I’ve got to say! And most of us can read at a college level right?!? But let’s be honest you aren’t going to find me as a reader running around trying to read an encyclopedia. Sure I can read it and if I come to a word I don’t know I’ve got all the skills to figure out an unfamiliar word. But I’ve got absolutely no interest in reading an encyclopedia nor does it sound fun to have to decode or look up the meaning of lots of words while reading!
This is what happens all too often to all non-reading loving kids! Reading becomes hard and just not fun or even boring! All things that we can fix. We can fix this by teaching our kids how to pick a book that is ‘just right’!
Purpose: Why are you reading this book? Is it for fun? Do you want to learn something new?
Interest: Am I interested in this book's topic? (Just because someone else loved a book does not mean it’s going to be the right book for you too. You have to be interested in the same thing!)
Comprehend: Can I understand the words that I am reading? The easiest way to check this is with a little retelling. What happens in the beginning, middle and end?
Know: Do I know most of the words that I am reading? This is perfect for the five finger rule.
Here’s how the five finder rule works. Over time you come to a word you don’t know or is hard for you to read. When you do, you put up a finger. If you get to the end of the page (for a chapter book or a couple of pages for a picture book) then that book is just too hard. I honestly don’t believe in books being too easy. Yes, I think a book can be simple for a child to read but we as parents are focusing on developing the love for reading and no one loves reading when you just don’t know the words. I like to look at books with 4 fingers up as perfect reads for buddy reading.
And if your child desperately wants to read a book that is just too difficult, please don’t discourage them. This is the perfect time for you to read together. Take turns reading or read aloud to them. They can echo read with you. That’s where they are reading the words right after you just like an eco😉