Ok, so the more I teach my kids at home the more I remember what I learned in school. It's like it's all flooding back and I love thinking about how I can pass it along to you guys.
So often I hear people say, "I could never teach my kids, I'm not _______." You've heard it, you've nodded your head or commented, but either way, some of it is stuff we gain from experience and some is just stuff we just learn. So here is one very helpful thing I've wanted to share with all of you mommas who have kids struggling as they learn to read with you.
First off, teaching a child to read is one of the most wonderful and glorious things we will ever do. I loved when I could see the "lightbulb" go off and hear my students read with ease at the end of the year.
However, if your child is like most beginning readers it will take great persistence and effort before they seamlessly read through a book they get at the library. And if you are like most home schooling moms, you are just hoping you are doing the right thing, hoping you are teaching the lessons correctly, but have little spare time to attend a university in "Reading Strategies" to know if you are doing it well.
So here's your first class shortened to a blog post...
When children are learning to read, regardless of what method you are using- it's important they develop two things...
1) Fluency and 2 ) Comprehension-
When reading teachers test kids, they actually test these very two things along with decoding to determine their reading level. So the first thing we are going to talk about is "Reading Fluency."
"Reading Fluency" is exactly what it sounds like, the rate at which a child can read without stoping or stumbling on a word.
Now in the beginning, a child can be learning to read, but you might notice they become irritable and tired before the story is over. If this happens, that is normal. Reading takes a lot of brain power and their brains are working overtime to decode each and every sound in front of them. We forget the effort because, as adults we have memorized most of our words by now.
There are three main levels to reading fluency: independent, instructional, and frustration. I will expand on all of them.
Independent is when a child has 0-1 words missed on the page. For example if I show my son a book and he can read 9 out of 10 words, that would be a sign he is reading at his independent level. This requires that you tally on the side the number of times they miss a word. Just do it while they are not looking and don't show them, as that can sometimes intimidate them.
Instructional is when a child misses 2-3 words missed on a page. The number would again be at least 10- 15 words per page. Instructional is the level you need to stay at until it becomes independent. So if your reading curriculum says, read, "The Red Pen" on Monday and then says, read "The Blue Cat" on Tuesday, only do it if they are reading "The Red Pen" at an independent level. Does that mean we repeat? Yes, kinda. We have them repeat the story until they have gained enough exposure to gain fluency, all the while teaching them new or similar skills to do so..
In another post I will talk about how to get them from instructional to independent. But back to the levels.
Frustration is when a child misses 4 or more words missed on a page. In fact, as a teacher, if a child scored in the frustration level, we stopped testing right away. We didn't even have them finish the page if they got to 5 errors. So if you notice your child doing the same thing, just stop them or tell them that you will read along with them and they can read with you out loud. Rarely will they argue with you as this level is too hard to have them read and they just need relief. This is called "shared reading" in teacher world. Then do not pick up that level again until you are sure it is instructional for them.
So when a child is reading for fun, do NOT get books they can not read on their own. Meaning, check out books you know they can read at their independent level. Teach them the terms and explain to them that they will move up in time.
Then every night, if you have leveled readers or short stories, have them read to you out of their independent level. It's perfectly normal if they begin to memorize the words. That is what we have done as adults. Do not tell them sound out each word unless they have to or miss a word.
Dads are statistically shown to be better reading listeners than moms. You know why? Because most dads don't interrupt their kids part way through a sentence to tell them to read that again, or "sound it out"- now the jury is still out as to why dads don't interrupt- but regardless that taught me something when I was teaching. In order to develop fluency, let your child finish the sentence or thought and ask them, "Did that make sense?" if they are comprehending, they usually say, "No."
Then you can say, "Why don't we try that again and see if another word works better." Most of the time they will want to do so.
Last, reading, is best done early when your child is not tired. If you were to poll most schools and ask teachers, 99% of them would say they teach reading in the morning. Why? Because that is what research has shown us is the best time. So right after a good protein based breakfast or healthy carbs, get them doing Reading or Math first. Now my son LOVES Math! In fact he begs for more each day, but I stop him because I don't want him to burn out too fast being that he is still in "Pre K". But when Reading comes, even though the curriculum is great, he tires more easily with that than his Math workbook. Why, because it takes more energy. So what do I do? I teach reading right after we do our circle time. I know he is most alert and I want him then. Then I teach Math after his break.
Capisci? Good! I hope this all was clear and brought some good stuff for you to implement immediately.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email or leave a comment. I look forward to hearing if you'd like more posts like this or if this is good and would rather me stick with just lesson plan ideas.