Good evening everyone!
Many parents have requested meetings these past few months and over time, I have noticed that concerns are very similar from one parent to the next. To avoid unnecessary meetings (I need to save my energy to plan, mark and connect with the kids!), I thought I’d give you a few ideas on what you can do to help your child at home.
For this post, I will focus on reading.
I recommend that you:
1. Schedule daily family reading time. I can’t stress this enough. Reading is important. As an adult, you must model this behaviour and make sure that your child reads too. I find that the best way to do this is to pencil it in on your calendar. Going to bed 30 minutes earlier is also a great idea as it allows everyone to read in bed.
2. Visit the Vancouver Public Library. Did you know that each user is entitled to borrow up to 50 books at a time? I visit the Vancouver Public Library once per week and always make sure to have books availaible around the house. The Kitsilano branch has a good selection of French books. If you can’t make it there, you can also request books to be delivered at a branch near you. Users can do 50 of these requests per year. Mine are always all used by the end of the year. This is like online shopping without having to spend one penny!
3. Read aloud with your child. Aside from silent reading, reading aloud is also important. I try to do it as much as possible in class. You don’t have to make it too formal. If you’re not comfortable reading aloud on your own you can take turns with your child. Each person reads one paragraph to lighten up the load. This will get easier as weeks go by (I speak from experience).
Many parents read aloud with their child already. Don’t stop! This is excellent! If you’re unsure as to which book to read at home, visit Vancouver Kidsbooks and pick a book together. Kids always get excited when they get to pick their own books, especially if it’s from such a store.
I also want to point out that there are many things to avoid when reading aloud. One strategy most kids dislike is when they’re being asked factual questions. As a parent, you should avoid this. Kids don’t like to be quizzed all the time. Try to make reading as much fun as possible and skip the quiz part.
When I was a child, that’s how my teacher evaluated my reading comprehension. Now that I’m a teacher, I realise this doesn’t say much about one’s understanding of a story. There is a lot more to this than simple factual questions. If you’d like to help your child read and understand a story, think about engaging in a discussion instead, when opportunity arises. Good readers always thinking about the story, often without realizing it. If you notice using any of these strategies, share your thoughts with your child. I often do it with them in class and all seem to really enjoy it.
-Question the text (Why did she say this? I wonder what X will do if…?)
-Predict what will happen next (I think this character will… because…)
-Infer (readers use clues from the text to understand the story – we often call it “reading in between the lines”)
-Make connections (with your personal life, another text you read, with things going around in the world)
-Visualise (make pictures in your mind, describe what you see using words or by drawing it)
-Transform (“rethinking” your own ideas, coming to a new conclusion)
I’ve also made a list of websites/blogs that may be of interest to you, should you be looking for book ideas. Enjoy!
Ordering French Books Online (free shipping if order is over $39)