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11 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Read

 
 
 

Parents often ask how they can help their children learn to read; and it’s no wonder that they’re interested in this essential skill. Reading plays an important role in later school success. One study even demonstrates that how well 7-year-olds read predicts their income 35 years later!

Here are 11 practical recommendations for helping preschoolers and school-age students learn to read.

1. Teaching reading will only help.

Sometimes, parents are told early teaching is harmful, but it isn’t true. You simply can’t introduce literacy too early. I started reading to my own children on the days they were each born! The “dangers of early teaching” has been a topic of study for more than 100 years, and no one has ever found any convincing evidence of harm. Moreover, there are hundreds of studies showing the benefits of reading to your children when they are young.

2. Teaching literacy isn’t different than teaching other skills.

You don’t need a Ph.D. to raise a happy, healthy, smart child. Parents have been doing it for thousands of years. Mothers and fathers successfully teach their kids to eat with a spoon, use a potty, keep their fingers out of their noses, and say “please.” These things can be taught pleasantly, or they can be made into a painful chore. Being unpleasant (e.g. yelling, punishing, pressuring) doesn’t work, and it can be frustrating for everyone. This notion applies to teaching literacy, too. If you show your 18-month-old a book and she shows no interest, then put it away and come back to it later. If your child tries to write her name and ends up with a backwards “D,” no problem. No pressure. No hassle. You should enjoy the journey, and so should your child.

3. Talk to your kids (a lot).

Last year, I spent lots of time with our brand new granddaughter, Emily. I drowned her in language. Although “just a baby,” I talked — and sang — to her about everything. I talked about her eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and fingers. I told her all about her family — her mom, dad, and older brother. I talked to her about whatever she did (yawning, sleeping, eating, burping). I talked to her so much that her parents thought I was nuts; she couldn’t possibly understand me yet. But reading is a language activity, and if you want to learn language, you’d better hear it, and eventually, speak it. Too many moms and dads feel a bit dopey talking to a baby or young child, but studies have shown that exposing your child to a variety of words helps in her development of literacy skills.

4. Read to your kids.

I know everyone says this, but it really is a good idea — at least with preschoolers. One of my colleagues refers to this advice as the “chicken soup” of reading education. We prescribe it for everything. (Does it help? It couldn’t hurt.) If a parent or caregiver can’t read or can’t read English, there are alternatives, such as using audiobooks; but for those who can, reading a book or story to a child is a great, easy way to advance literacy skills. Research shows benefitsfor kids as young as 9-months-old, and it could be effective even earlier than that. Reading to kids exposes them to richer vocabulary than they usually hear from the adults who speak to them, and can have positive impacts on their language, intelligence, and later literacy achievement. What should you read to them? There are so many wonderful children’s books. Visit your local library, and you can get an armful of adventure. You can find recommendations from kids at the Children’s Book Council website or at the International Literacy Association Children's Choices site, as well as free books online at other websites like Search Lit or Unite for Literacy.

5. Have them tell you a “story.”

One great way to introduce kids to literacy is to take their dictation. Have them recount an experience or make up a story. We’re not talking “Moby Dick” here. A typical first story may be something like, “I like fish. I like my sister. I like grandpa.” Write it as it is being told, and then read it aloud. Point at the words when you read them, or point at them when your child is trying to read the story. Over time, with lots of rereading, don’t be surprised if your child starts to recognize words such as “I” or “like.” (As children learn some of the words, you can write them on cards and keep them in a “word bank” for your child, using them to review later.)

6. Teach phonemic awareness.

Young children don’t hear the sounds within words. Thus, they hear “dog,” but not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh.” To become readers, they have to learn to hear these sounds (or phonemes). Play language games with your child. For instance, say a word, perhaps her name, and then change it by one phoneme: Jen-Pen, Jen-Hen, Jen-Men. Or, just break a word apart: chair… ch-ch-ch-air. Follow this link to learn more about language development milestones in children.

7. Teach phonics (letter names and their sounds).

You can’t sound out words or write them without knowing the letter sounds. Most kindergartens teach the letters, and parents can teach them, too. I just checked a toy store website and found 282 products based on letter names and another 88 on letter sounds, including ABC books, charts, cards, blocks, magnet letters, floor mats, puzzles, lampshades, bed sheets, and programs for tablets and computers. You don’t need all of that (a pencil and paper are sufficient), but there is lots of support out there for parents to help kids learn these skills. Keep the lessons brief and fun, no more than 5–10 minutes for young’uns. Understanding the different developmental stages of reading and writing skills will help to guide your lessons and expectations.

8. Listen to your child read.

When your child starts bringing books home from school, have her read to you. If it doesn’t sound good (mistakes, choppy reading), have her read it again. Or read it to her, and then have her try to read it herself. Studies show that this kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it is done at home.

9. Promote writing.

Literacy involves reading and writing. Having books and magazines available for your child is a good idea, but it’s also helpful to have pencils, crayons, markers, and paper. Encourage your child to write. One way to do this is to write notes or short letters to her. It won’t be long before she is trying to write back to you.

10. Ask questions.

When your child reads, get her to retell the story or information. If it’s a story, ask who it was about and what happened. If it’s an informational text, have your child explain what it was about and how it worked, or what its parts were. Reading involves not just sounding out words, but thinking about and remembering ideas and events. Improving reading comprehension skills early will prepare her for subsequent success in more difficult texts.

11. Make reading a regular activity in your home.

Make reading a part of your daily life, and kids will learn to love it. When I was nine years old, my mom made me stay in for a half-hour after lunch to read. She took me to the library to get books to kick off this new part of my life. It made me a lifelong reader. Set aside some time when everyone turns off the TV and the web and does nothing but read. Make it fun, too. When my children finished reading a book that had been made into a film, we’d make popcorn and watch the movie together. The point is to make reading a regular enjoyable part of your family routine.

Happy reading!

Sources:

Ritchie, S.J., & Bates, T.C. (2013). Enduring links from childhood mathematics and reading achievement to adult socioeconomic status. Psychological Science, 24, 1301-1308.

Karass J., & Braungart-Rieker J. (2005). Effects of shared parent-infant reading on early language acquisition. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 133-148.

 

 

http://www.readingrockets.org/blogs/shanahan-literacy/11-ways-parents-can-help-their-children-read

Call to Excellence & Watch Dog Kickoff

September 14, 2017

Dear Parents,

 

Next week we have a few exciting events.  Our first one will be on Monday morning.  We will have our first Call to Excellence beginning at 8:30.  This is a time for all students to gather for morning announcements and to review our 8 Expectations for Learning, Life Principle of the Week and learn our new Callback for the week.  We will only do this on Mondays. Tuesday, September 19, we are having our WATCH D.O.G.S. kickoff beginning at 6 PM.  This will be for all of our Dads, Granddads, and other male figures of the family to come and see how you can help with safety on our campus.  On Thursday, September 21, we will have Parent Orientation for PK – 2nd Grade from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Parent Orientation for 3rd and 4th Grade will be on Thursday, September 28 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. 

I look forward to seeing you at Parent Orientation and WATCH D.O.G.S. kickoff.

 

Dr. Colson

STAAR Writing Test for 4th Grade

Don't forget that tomorrow, 4th graders will be taking the STAAR Writing Test!
Make sure that your child gets a good night's sleep and eats a good, energy-fueled breakfast!

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is a broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness are able to identify and make oral rhymes, can clap out the number of syllables in a word, and can recognize words with the same initial sounds like 'money' and 'mother.'

Phonemic awareness refers to the specific ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonemes are the smallest units comprising spoken language. Phonemes combine to form syllables and words. For example, the word 'mat' has three phonemes: /m/ /a/ /t/. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, including sounds represented by letter combinations such as /th/. Acquiring phonemic awareness is important because it is the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. Phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school instruction.

Students at risk for reading difficulty often have lower levels of phonological awareness and phonemic awareness than do their classmates. The good news is that phonemic awareness and phonological awareness can be developed through a number of activities. Read below for more information.

What the problem looks like

A kid's perspective: What this feels like to me

Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like "I hate reading!" or "This is stupid!". But if they could, this is how kids might describe how difficulties with phonological or phonemic awareness affect their reading:

  • I don't know any words that rhyme with cat.
  • What do you mean when you say, "What sounds are in the word brush?"
  • I'm not sure how many syllables are in my name.
  • I don't know what sounds are the same in bit and hit.

A parent's perspective: What I see at home

Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:

  • She has difficulty thinking of rhyming words for a simple word like cat (such as rat or bat).
  • She doesn't show interest in language play, word games, or rhyming.

A teacher's perspective: What I see in the classroom

Here are some clues for teachers that a student may have problems with phonological or phonemic awareness:

  • She doesn't correctly complete blending activities; for example, put together sounds /k/ /i/ /ck/ to make the word kick.
  • He doesn't correctly complete phoneme substitution activities; for example, change the /m/ in mate to /cr/ in order to make crate.
  • He has a hard time telling how many syllables there are in the word paper.
  • He has difficulty with rhyming, syllabication, or spelling a new word by its sound.

How to help

With the help of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to cope with phonological and/or phonemic awareness problems that affect his or her reading. Below are some tips and specific things to do.

What kids can do to help themselves

  • Be willing to play word and sounds games with parents or teachers.
  • Be patient with learning new information related to words and sounds. Giving the ears a workout is difficult!
  • Practice hearing the individual sounds in words. It may help to use a plastic chip as a counter for each sound you hear in a word.
  • Be willing to practice writing. This will give you a chance to match sounds with letters.

What parents can do to help at home

  • Check with your child's teacher or principal to make sure the school's reading program teaches phonological, phonemic awareness, and phonics skills.
  • If your child is past the ages at which phonemic awareness and phonological skills are taught class-wide (usually kindergarten to first or second grade), make sure he or she is receiving one-on-one or small group instruction in these skills.
  • Do activities to help your child build sound skills (make sure they are short and fun; avoid allowing your child to get frustrated):
    • Help your child think of a number of words that start with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other beginning sounds.
    • Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as "Nobody was nice to Nancy's neighbor".
    • Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (gono) or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog).
  • Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs.
  • Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.
  • Consider using computer software that focuses on developing phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Many of these programs use colorful graphics and animation that keep young children engaged and motivated.

What teachers can do to help at school

  • Learn all about phonemes (there are more than 40 speech sounds that may not be obvious to fluent readers and speakers).
  • Make sure the school's reading program and other materials include skill-building in phonemes, especially in kindergarten and first grade (these skills do not come naturally, but must be taught).
  • If children are past the age at which phonemic awareness and phonological skill-building are addressed (typically kindergarten through first or second grade), attend to these skills one-on-one or in a small group. Ask your school's reading specialist for help finding a research-based supplemental or intervention program for students in need.
  • Identify the precise phoneme awareness task on which you wish to focus and select developmentally appropriate activities for engaging children in the task. Activities should be fun and exciting – play with sounds, don't drill them.
  • Make sure your school's reading program and other materials include systematic instruction in phonics.
  • Consider teaching phonological and phonemic skills in small groups since students will likely be at different levels of expertise. Remember that some students may need more reinforcement or instruction if they are past the grades at which phonics is addressed by a reading program (first through third grade).

Read Across America Week

To celebrate Read Across America, several fun and educational activities are planned for the week.  Students are also invited to dress up each day based on a different Dr. Seuss Book:

 Monday, February 27th – “Whooville”- Crazy Hair. You’re class will visit the book fair today!

Tuesday, February 28th - “If I Ran the Zoo”- Wear Animal Print

Wednesday, March 1st - “Oh! The Places You’ll Go- Wear a College Shirt.

Thursday, March 2nd- Book Character Parade (You must bring the book with you to school. Dress up as your favorite character from a book

*DPES Family Literacy Night is TONIGHT!*

Friday, March 4th - “Green Eggs and Ham”-

 

 

 

DPES Family Literacy Night

Decker Prairie Family Literacy Night: 

Where Reading Gives You SUPER Powers!

 

Family Literacy Night is coming on Thursday, March 2nd from 6:00-7:30!!

 

 Come join us as we celebrate reading and writing with fun games and activities for all of your family members!

Students can become a super hero, create a comic, take part in a book walk, design a book mark and much, much more!!

 

There will be awesome door prizes such as Rodeo ticketsBikes, Tickets to the Zoo and Children's Museum and Toys R’ Us gift cards!

Chick-fil-a of Tomball, Kroger of Tomball, HEB of Tomball, and DPES have partnered to offer a FREE dinner to the first 300 people to attend the DPES family literacy night!!

Dinner provided will be a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich, bag of chips, a cookie, and a bottle of water.

 

 

 

¡Noche de Lectura Familiar en Decker Prairie!

Donde el leer te dá super poderes

 

¡La noche de lectura familiar será el jueves, 2 de marzo de 6:00 -7:30p.m!

 

Únase a nosotros mientras celebramos la lectura y la escritura con divertidos juegos y actividades para todos los miembros de su familia.

Los estudiantes pueden convertirse en súper héroes, crear una tira cómica, participar en una caminata de libros, diseñar un marcador de libros

y muchas, muchas cosas más.

 

¡Habrá increíbles premios como boletos al Rodeo, bicicletas, boletos para el zoológico y para el Museo de los Niños y tarjetas de regalo de Toys R’ US!

 

Las tiendas Chick-fil-a, Kroger y HEB de Tomball, se han asociado con DPES para ofrecer una cena gratis a las primeras 300 personas que asistan a la Noche de Lectura Familiar DPES.

La cena será un sándwich de pollo de Chick-fil-a, una bolsa de papitas, una galleta y una botella de agua.

DPES Family Literacy Night

 

Decker Prairie Family Literacy Night: 

Where Reading Gives You SUPER Powers!

 

Family Literacy Night is coming on Thursday, March 2nd from 6:00-7:30!!

 

 Come join us as we celebrate reading and writing with fun games and activities for all of your family members!

Students can become a super hero, create a comic, take part in a book walk, design a book mark and much, much more!!

 

There will be awesome door prizes such as Rodeo ticketsBikes, Tickets to the Zoo and Children's Museum and Toys R’ Us gift cards!

Chick-fil-a of Tomball, Kroger of Tomball, HEB of Tomball, and DPES have partnered to offer a FREE dinner to the first 300 people to attend the DPES family literacy night!!

Dinner provided will be a Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich, bag of chips, a cookie, and a bottle of water.

 

 

 

¡Noche de Lectura Familiar en Decker Prairie!

Donde el leer te dá super poderes

 

¡La noche de lectura familiar será el jueves, 2 de marzo de 6:00 -7:30p.m!

 

Únase a nosotros mientras celebramos la lectura y la escritura con divertidos juegos y actividades para todos los miembros de su familia.

Los estudiantes pueden convertirse en súper héroes, crear una tira cómica, participar en una caminata de libros, diseñar un marcador de libros

y muchas, muchas cosas más.

 

¡Habrá increíbles premios como boletos al Rodeo, bicicletas, boletos para el zoológico y para el Museo de los Niños y tarjetas de regalo de Toys R’ US!

 

Las tiendas Chick-fil-a, Kroger y HEB de Tomball, se han asociado con DPES para ofrecer una cena gratis a las primeras 300 personas que asistan a la Noche de Lectura Familiar DPES.

La cena será un sándwich de pollo de Chick-fil-a, una bolsa de papitas, una galleta y una botella de agua.

This is your child's brain on reading

(CNN)When parents read to their children the difference shows in children's behavior and academic performance. And according to a new study, the difference also shows in their brain activity.

Researchers looked at children ages 3 to 5 who underwent brain scans called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while listening to a pre-recorded story. The parents answered questions about how much they read to, and communicated with, their children.
Read the attached article to find out more.....