Sometimes reading with your child at home can seem like a daunting task. We all know how important the skill of reading is. Making sure that your child gets adequate and meaningful practice can sometimes be an overwhelming focus. 

Today I want to share with you four easy steps to use while reading with your child to help make your reading time together very meaningful. These easy steps to add to your reading routine will increase your child’s understanding of the story and help them to learn and retain the moral or meaning behind it!

Previewing a Text

Background knowledge is a huge part of how we make sense of the world. When we examine a book before we read it, we are tapping into and activating what we might already know about the subject!

Look at the cover of the book together – what do we see? What clues do you have of what might happen in the book? What do you know about those things?

Let’s use the book – She persisted as an example. You might ask these questions: Who do you think will be in this book? What does ‘persisted’ mean? 

In answering these questions together – you and your child will realize this is a book about girls who don’t give up. You would follow up by asking – what do you know about not giving up? 

While Reading

Stopping periodically while reading gives your child time to process what is happening. It is important that your child can remember the main or impactful events that are happening in the story and can identify them. When you stop you can ask your child: What is happening in the story? What is the character doing? Why is this happening?  

It is also a great time to make predictions. Tap into your child’s background knowledge that you built before and guide them to making predictions of what will happen next. 

With our example text, if they know or if you learned together that having persistence means going through hard things, then they will guess a hard thing for the character will be next. If your child notices the pattern of a new girl and her story featured on each page, then they will guess that the next page will be a new female character who tried very hard at something. 

After Reading

Retelling a story in order shows that your child understands sequencing and is comprehending the story. Ask your child what the book was about (summary of the most important ideas is a hard task) and what happened (literal comprehension of small details). 

Reflecting is a very impactful part of reading. It is when we take the time to digest the moral of the story and what we can do about it. No matter what type of text we are reading, there is something to be learned from it. Ask your child – Why does this book matter for you in your life? How does this story make you feel? What does this story make you want to do?

Stopping to preview, ask, think and reflect are easy steps to add depth to your daily practice of reading with your child!

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