It is now the season of homework. I’m not a fan. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of inflicting thousands of nights of pain on other parents and I’d like to apologize because apparently payback is a bitch. It really wasn’t my fault, homework is usually required by school districts and when it comes to reading, as with anything, the more you do the better you get.
I’m going to let know about how some teacher’s determine children’s reading level, how some score them and how you can help you child.
Here’s some quick mumbo jumbo…Many use what is called a running record to score reading accuracy. A simple way to explain it is: when a child is reading a book or passage, each word read correctly is a point. The words correct versus incorrect (there are also other factors, but for this purpose they are not relevant) are then calculated an accuracy score is obtained.
For the purpose of this post I am only referring to any little "decodable" books your child may bring home. When it comes to sounding out words and learning new sight words those are complete other lessons.
My son started bringing home Decodable Readers from Reading Street (our districts reading program). They are short books designed for children to be able to read on their own, focusing on a phonics skill and using known sight words. He sat down to read it to me.
He read it fine, except for a few things that most people would overlook. I’m here to encourage you to NOT overlook them.
On this page my son added the word “the” into each sentence (adding a word that isn’t in the sentence counts against the child’s score). It didn’t change anything in the story, but it could determine whether or not his accuracy score allows him to move up a reading level.
|He added "the" after the word can.|
|If he did the same on this page his score would not have been sufficient to go on to the next level.|
When you child is reading to you and they make a mistake, (especially at a beginning reading level) correct him it’s how he will learn to self correct. Have him reread it correctly, even if he starts to hate you for it.
You may need to keep doing it and they may get annoyed (this could be why Maizie doesn’t want to read with me anymore), but in the end you will get better a better reader.
Keep those little books and have them reread them to you. This will help with fluency (the opposite of the dreaded “robot reading”).
You don’t think twice about baseball, piano, soccer or dance practice; don’t forget reading practice.
Some other quick tips…
Ask your child’s teacher what you can do to help. I don’t know any teacher that doesn’t want to hear from a parent BEFORE there’s a problem. Establish contact as soon as possible.
Talk to your child. Ask what book the teacher read, what they did at recess, how was lunchtime. Ask anything to get them talking about his day.
Check online resources for an area your child is struggling in, there are several. (Many teachers give online suggestions as well.)
Check backpacks after school (not before you go to bed…like I frequently do).
Teachers dread getting certain parents as much as parents dread getting certain teachers (don't be THAT parent).
Make sure you have things for your child to read. Get a library card, get an e-reader, subscribe to children’s magazines or even read cereal boxes. If your child needs cleats, you get them don't you?