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02/18/2016

Building an Effective Reading Program



Brieanna Casey, Head Instructor 
The Tutoring Center-- Bartonville


Sifting through the information available on how to develop home reading programs for your children can be overwhelming to say the least, but if you can implement these few tips, it can greatly enhance your child’s reading decoding, and comprehension skills and make reading more enjoyable for everyone!


Reading Every Day

It’s always good for a child to be read to whether at bedtime, or during homework time, but to really develop those reading skills, a child should make reading a part of their everyday routine. Children K through 5th would benefit from at least 30 minutes of sustained reading aloud with an adult. Children in 6th grade and above should be reading at least an hour​ every day -- either aloud, or to themselves -- but an adult should be around to answer questions. It’s important to use a time requirement rather than a page requirement, as it may deter speed reading.


Checking for Understanding

Now, while reading alone does have its advantages, improving comprehension skills requires following up every reading session with discussion ​afterwards. An adult should always ask probing questions to make sure the student has read and understood the material. Another way to check for understanding is to have the student keep a reading log ​each day that summarizes the passage, and answers a specific question you provide. These don’t have to be rote; make them fun, and change them up. For instance, “How do you feel about what happened to Susie today?” “Do you think Johnny will change his mind, why or why not?” “What do you think will happen next” “What would you do in Bobby’s situation?” These are all good open-ended questions that stimulate their memory, and heighten engagement.


Finding a “Good Fit” Book

Reading Level

Many reading classes today will assess your student’s reading level, and ask that you provide your child with appropriate reading materials at home at this level. However, this is often easier said, than done. The first thing that will help is having an equivalency chart to compare one reading scale to the next. Barnes and Noble also has a tool to search children’s books by their reading level. It’s also perfectly acceptable to Google “reading lists for sixth graders” to find what other schools and programs recommend as age appropriate texts. One easy rule of thumb you can remember, is that there should be 3-5 unfamiliar words each page.

Once you have this reference tool, you can choose from more books your child may like-- which is another animal entirely. This website provides good tips about how to choose a book that will be on-level, but also engaging for your child to read.


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