How Parents Can Help
Parents are our most essential partners! The support and encouragement that you provide at home are major catalysts for your child's growth and success in reading. Thank you for your dedication, interest, and committment!
Here are some suggestions about how you can continue to support your child during the middle school years:
Appropriately support your child with homework. Students in middle school still need hands-on support with organization, study skills, and reading strategies. Help students read directions, organize their notes, make review cards before tests, and use non-fiction text features such as headings, glossaries, indexes, and table of contents. Model for your child what careful, thorough reading look likes. When your child experiences difficulty with a particular concept or assignment, direct them to seek help from their classroom and reading teachers. Encourage students to be proactive in asking for assistance.
Foster your child's background knowledge and vocabulary through active discussions, trips to museums, travel, etc. Having previous knowledge of concepts that are being taught in the classroom will increase your child's understanding.
Encourage reading at home! Read aloud to your child or engage in "shared reading" activities in which you alternate pages/chapters. Your child will benefit from listening and following along as you read, even if he/she is not doing the actual reading. You can provide a model of fluent reading and allow your child to enjoy reading without having to expend all of their energey decoding. As you read alongside your child, "think aloud" so that your child has a model of what good readers think as they read. Model going back to re-read if you lose focus, making predictions, and interpreting characters. You can also prompt your child to retell a portion of the text to foster comprehension.
Support your child in selecting appropriate reading materials. If your child is going to be reading independently, check that the text is on an easy reading level for your child. He/she should be able to read most words easily and accurately. If your child chooses a more challenging text, suggest reading that particular book together. By reading together, you will be able to provide support with challenging concepts or words so that your child is still reading successfully.
For birthdays and holidays, consider books, magazine subscriptions, and board/computer/video games that contain reading/thinking activities.