Reading at home

Reading Is Comprehensionindex

Many parents have asked for help in working with their children’s reading. Some children believe they are not good readers have focused most of their efforts on word-perfect reproduction. They think that reading means saying all of the words right. Making text sound as it was written is an important aspect of reading, but reading is to construct meaning, and even adult proficient readers do not “say all the words right!” The reading process involves more than that. It concentrates more on how readers use sound/symbol relationships (phonics), syntax (grammar), and semantics (meaning) in concert to develop an understanding of text.

What Adult Proficient Readers Do

As adult proficient readers, we do not perfectly recreate the text when we read. Instead, as we sample the words in the text, we automatically use all of our general background knowledge and our expectations of what we think the text will say based on pictures, titles, headings, etc.; we reflect on our previous experiences in general and with this type of text; and we consider our purpose for reading it. Based on all of this, we make predictions about what we think the text will say. We only sample enough print for it to make sense to us, and when it does, we read on. For example – the sentence says: “The horse ran down the road.” and we predict: “The pony ran down the road.” It has made perfect sense to us based on the previously listed criteria and we read on. However, if we predict: ” The house ran down the road,” readers reading for meaning will know that the sentence does not make sense, and they will need to reread that part of the text that was not meaningful or read on to try to figure out the meaning of the unknown word, phrase, or concept. This is a description of what an adult proficient reader does, all in a matter of seconds.

What Is Important

It is important that your reader is aware that reading should make sense and sound like language And if it does not, there are strategies other than sounding out or asking for help that will move her along in text and help it make sense. There are strategies that can help your readers and writers become proficient and develop strategies other than sounding out or asking for help are listed below. These will encourage your child to make predictions and take risks based on meaning, syntax, and sound/symbol relationship.

See the attached Decoding and Comprehension Strategies! These strategies and vocabulary are consistently used in the regular classroom, Early Literacy and Early Support.

Read To Them

The most important thing you can do for your reader is to read to him. Read things that he is interested in and things for just pure enjoyment. Stop and talk with him about what you have just read – you thought it was funny, he liked the way the author said something, you liked that idea. Talk about any part of the story or writing that you want.

Point out different aspects of the text like: see how the pictures help tell the story, did you hear all those rhyming words, what do you think will happen next, look at all the lines that repeat, see how long that word is, did you notice all the words that started with Z, we already know a lot about this story because of something else we’ve read or heard about, etc. Remember, as a significant adult in your reader’s life, your uses of reading and writing for real purposes, including enjoyment and information, are the most powerful demonstrations you can give. Just as your child learned about speaking from your demonstrations, she will learn about reading through your modeling of it.

Uninterrupted Reading

Remember that the most important aspect of reading is constructing meaning. If you have a reader who reads making some miscues (unexpected responses to text) that are mostly meaning-making, do not interrupt except when the miscues do not make sense or do not sound like language. If a reader reads the sentence ” The horse ran down the road” as “The pony ran down the road,” do not “correct” her. That sentence made sense in the context of the story and sounded like language. But if she reads “The house ran down the road,” ask her if that made sense. Then ask her to reread the text to make it sensible. If the reader says it did make sense, ask her to reread it anyway because it didn’t make sense to you, the listener. ¬†Focusing readers on reading to make sense is what is most important.

 

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