By Mrs. Trumbull, Reading Teacher Grades 5-8
Free-time reading is a relaxing way for your child to spend a few quiet minutes at home. This can be the time to especially enjoy one of the most treasured aspects about reading – choosing your own reading matter, author and/or book. Finding the right independent reading book means understanding at least 95 % of the words. A quick look at a few pages could confirm if it is a good match; or try the ‘five finger test’: if he/she hits five words that can’t be read in the first page, they should put down the book and find another one. Tip: When you are at the library, it’s also a good idea to check out an extra novel or non-fiction in case the first choice does not work out.
Older elementary kids today have other media available to gain information and to find enjoyment. These include the Internet, news and magazine articles, audio books, DVD’s, TV news stories, newspaper, song lyrics, and even movies. These other ways of gaining information are becoming more accepted in education today. They have value as a potential learning tool because they can sometimes more vividly and perhaps dramatically ‘get the point across.’
A tip for making media a learning tool is to have your teen practice summarizing. This is considered a fairly sophisticated strategy and therefore needs lots of different kinds of practice. If you approach this with a fun attitude, there can be lots of educational benefits such as better retention of information. For example, after you and your child view a movie or a news story, discuss the actions or contents and work toward your child summarizing it in his/her own words.
The following should be included in an oral summary:
• Important characters, events, themes, or ideas
• Some important or cool facts and detail
• A word or special language from the story or topic that can be discussed or looked up in a dictionary.
As an adult, you probably use this summarizing strategy without realizing it, in your daily conversations at work and home. Having conversations with your children, who are less experienced than you, will really reinforce this important strategy.Have a wonderful Fall and ‘thank you’ for helping your kid(s) to enjoy reading, viewing, and writing as part of your family life!