Dear Parents and Guardians,
Last May 22, the Reading Specialists was fortunate enough to forge a partnership with Homeschool Global Alabang to conduct a webinar about Reading Essentials: What Every Parent Must Know. During the Q & A, I was asked, “What would you advise parents to do to promote children’s literacy growth?” The answer is easy: Reading aloud. The cost is time and books—hardly anything considering its priceless returns.
Reading-aloud has limitless benefits. It has the potential to promote family bonding, and foster an interest and love for reading. Reading aloud enhances readiness skills such as print awareness (e.g. knowing that print carries meaning, is read from left to right and top to bottom), alphabet knowledge, and awareness for the sounds of the language—all of which have been found to be critical to early reading success. Reading aloud also increases children’s background knowledge necessary for comprehension. It exposes them to more sophisticated vocabulary, language structures (grammar), and figurative language that they normally would not encounter in daily conversation. To make the most of this experience, I highly recommend the following:
- Cozy up with your child with a book on the sofa or the bedroom. Set the alarm and agree to DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) at this time. No ifs and buts.
- Choose quality books that appeal to your child’s interests. Include fiction and non-fiction. Keep an open mind. Even comics and graphic novels are now fair game.
- Read alternately with your child if he or she already can. While you provide a model for fluent reading, your offspring gets the opportunity to practice both reading and listening.
- Pre-reading: Set a purpose for reading by having your child make a prediction based on the title, cover, and blurb. Explain vocabulary and concepts critical to understanding the story or selected passage.
- During Reading: Continue to encourage your child to make predictions. Ask questions at the literal level. Include those that pertain to implied information to develop higher-order thinking. For example, “Why do you think that happened?” “Do you think the character made the right decision? Why? or Why not?”
- After Reading: Depending on your child’s ability, have him or her retell the story, or summarize it in less than 15 words. Alternatively, have him or her identify the main ideas and supporting details if the book is non-fiction.
For all you bargain shoppers (from a bargain shopper herself!), reading-aloud is the steal of the century. No buyer’s remorse. You and your child only have everything to gain.
Journeying with you in life, literacy, and learning,