Welcome to the first General Knowledge, a pilot resource for families to support their child's academic and personal growth at school. We are kicking off the series by celebrating National Reading Month a time when people of all ages are encouraged to read every day. If you haven’t picked up a book lately, consider that reading:
¦ increases intelligence
¦ boosts vocabulary
¦ encourages empathy
¦ builds communication skills
¦ reduces stress
¦ slows cognitive decline
¦ improves memory and creativity
¦ enhances career development
“Reading is the foundation for so many things we do in life. We all read for a variety of purposes, even within one day. We might read to be entertained, to be persuaded, to figure out how to do something, to learn about something, or to connect with others,” said Andrea Donely, Title I Teacher at Whitehouse Primary School.
Thanks to our Reading and English Language Arts teachers and representatives from our community libraries, we have developed a few resources you may find helpful in supporting your child's reading and literacy skills.
Tips for Early Readers
by Andrea Donely, Title I Teacher at Whitehouse Primary
In the primary ages (K - 4), kiddos journey through a series of skills that build upon one another to learn to read and write. Through this literacy journey, parents can do a variety of things to help their children build the skills they need to be successful readers.
At any age, K - 4, parents can:
Make reading a priority. Insert reading into your day, every day. Even five to ten minutes a day will have a profound impact.
For parents of Pre-K and K students:
Grow your child's vocabulary by giving everything a name. The more words they can be exposed to, along with visual representations the better!
Read to entertain! When reading aloud use voices, inflection and have fun. You will model fluent reading AND show that reading can be enjoyable.
Point out words around you. Play letter and word eye spy. Expose your kiddo to as many words as you can in and around your environment.
Read it, read it and read it... again. Read your kiddo's favorite book over and over. The repetition and exposure will help build skills. As you turn the last page, ask them what the story was about and have them give you details they remember.
Say silly tongue twisters, listen to rhymes and play sound games. This exposure helps your child learn to be sensitive to sounds in words and begins to support their ability to manipulate those sounds.
Talk about letters and sounds, trace and write letters, and begin to work on writing your child's name.
For parents of 1st Grade students
Talk, talk, talk and write, write write! The more you converse with your kiddo, the more they will learn to communicate effectively and grow their vocabulary.
Add more writing to your week, whether it be a thank you note or a grocery list, to help your child continue to grow their letter sound knowledge and practice the spelling patterns they are learning in school.
Continue to read, read it again and read it again. Repeated readings of text will help to improve word recognition and automaticity. It will also help to develop your kiddo's fluency when reading.
After reading, ask your child questions and dig deeper. Start with "Where did the story take place? Who were the characters? What was the problem in the story?" then start to dig deeper. You can ask questions such as, "Why do you think the character did that/said that/thought that?," or "Has there ever been a time when you have felt that way?"
Don't limit your questions to just the books you are reading. Ask your kiddo deeper questions when watching movies, tv shows or discussing personal events. Helping them make connections will strengthen their ability to understand their world around them and the books that they are reading.
For parents of 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade students:
Introduce your kiddo to a variety of books, so they can find something that interests them. Our libraries in the area are WONDERFUL resources to help your child find a topic or genre that they are motivated to read.
Don't be afraid to read with your kiddo. They still love to listen to you read at this age and your modeling is great for them. Take turns reading a page or two, and then switch.
Help them tackle a book that might be a bit out of reach. If your child would like to read a book that they might not be able to tackle independently, choose to read it as a family or read it to them each night before they go to bed.
Look to engage in deeper thinking in a variety of ways, including family game night. Here are some game suggestions that would support reading, while also having a great time!
Quiddler, Quiddler Jr., Boggle, Sequence Letters, Scrabble (any version), Bananagrams, Wordical, Apples to Apples Jr.
Links for Learning
Raising Readers: What Parents Can Do
PBS Parents: Helping kids ages 2-8 build reading skill
Raising Strong Readers: Tips for parents from birth through 6th grade
Supporting teens who struggle with reading
Online Books and Other Fun
Books read online by famous people. The site allows you to view grade levels of interest and provides links to purchase the book, if you'd like to add it to your collection.
A digital platform with over 30 million books that allows for virtual read alouds with activities for ages 2-8. There is a 7-day trial, then the option for a monthly or annual subscription. This is a highly engaging format that parents can participate in or is safe for kids to have a greater level of independence.
Great website for parents with various resources for supporting their readers.
If parents search "read aloud books" you will find many options, although we recommend previewing them before sharing with your child. They are also not ad-free.
This popular site has literacy and math resources for students in preschool through third grade that parents can complete with their students.
This site provides audio recordings of books to listen to if your little one likes fairy tales, myths and poems.