CCA English course designer Sarah Christman offers helpful tips and ideas for parents.
What do rhyming words, craft supplies and a robot voice all have in common?
They are just a few of the many different approaches families can take to help engage their CCA students to further develop their reading abilities outside of normal school time.
Sarah Christman, an English and language arts instructional designer at CCA, shares some helpful tips and ideas.
Make reading part of your everyday life
“The most important thing is really just making it a day-to-day activity and showing the importance of it by reading every day,” Christman said.
- READ MORE: Q&A with CCA course designer Sarah Christman
At the same time, students already get so much instruction in their daily lessons so make sure not to overwhelm them. “Keep it fun,” she said.
Turn reading into a game
In the car on the way to soccer practice. In the checkout line at the store. During TV commercial breaks. Find a few minutes to play a fun, interactive game involving reading and sight words.
Play the rhyming game
Talk like a robot to determine how many syllables are in a word.
Make storytime more interactive
Have kids read along with you as you read a book (known as “choral reading”).
Take turns reading a page or sentence
Ask them to repeat after you while reading, a word or sentence at a time (known as “echo reading”).
Use visuals and get crafty
Sight words. Have your student write down the current words they are learning (sight words) and post them throughout your home in places they see frequently. Ask them to draw pictures next to the word that explain its meaning. Be sure to change out the words as your child becomes familiar with them. Talk with your student’s teacher for recommended sight words or go to sightwords.com.
Stay in touch
Encourage your student to send letters or emails to their friends. Help them figure out what they would like to write to their friend and aid them in writing it out, if needed. If your student gets a reply to their message, help them read what it says.
Ask any family members or friends that are traveling to send postcards from their travel destinations to your student. Help your student read the postcard and, as a bonus lesson, you can show them where the card was sent from on a map!
Don’t forget to engage older or advanced readers, too
Even if your student reads proficiently, there are still ways to ensure they are connecting with what they read and understand their meaning as it relates to a story or their daily lives.
Ask questions during reading, such as “What do you think will happen?” or “What words do you know? Any sight words?”
Be sure to follow up after reading with questions like “What happened in the story?” and “What was your favorite/least favorite part of the story and why?”
Encourage older kids to read to their younger family members or friends. This will help them practice and become more confident in their ability, and benefit those they read to, as well.
In addition to implementing these reading activity tips, Christman suggests connecting with your student’s teacher to get their thoughts and recommendations in setting realistic expectations and goals. She also encourages parents or guardians to remember that kids will be on different levels and that the most important thing is to pay attention to overall improvement.