• Reading Is Thinking!

     Encourage your child to read books that are “just right.”  If a book is “just right”, your child struggles with only a few words per page and can use strategies to figure them out.  Your child can retell what’s happening in the text or what s/he just learned.

    Make sure your child uses reading strategies for unknown words. Strategies include:  thinking what would make sense, thinking what would sound right, reading into the word (the first few letters), breaking polysyllabic words into chunks, skipping the word for more context and then going back, reading on for more information, rereading (to get a running start), or substituting a word that makes sense. 

    Take turns reading.  Children need to hear an “expert” reader model what reading with expression sounds like, how to read using punctuation, etc. 

    Read aloud the first chapter or so and then send your child off.  Characters, setting, etc. are often introduced in the first couple of chapters.  Check in every few chapters, so you can ask what happened to the character, if s/he solved the problem, etc.

    Let your child read silently. Reading aloud is a performance. 

    Read books from a series.  Series books often have the same characters and repetitive format. Reading a series allows children to get to know a character deeply.

    Check for understanding often.  Reading is supposed to make sense. Can your child retell what is happening in the text every chapter? 

    Brainstorm about the topic before reading to build up background knowledge.  It’s all about connections that help you understand and integrate new knowledge. 

    Predict what will happen next and explain why you think that.

    Ask questions before, during and after reading. 

    Read between the lines.  Make inferences by using what you know and what the text says. 

    Discuss what the theme is.  What does the author want you to remember about this book?  What lesson did the characters learn?  What is the text really about?


     Ways to Talk about Texts with Your Child

     Ask and answer questions about the text:

    Who?              What?             When?           Where?          Why?              How?


    Questions about plot and theme:

    Retell what happens in the story. Sequential order is important. 

    What is the problem in the story?  How is it solved?

    What was the main idea/theme of the story?

    What is a lesson (the character) learns at the end of the story? How do you know?

    What is the lesson to be learned from the story?  

    Follow up with “How do you know?  What evidence in the book is there for what you said?"


    Questions about character:

    What are some of the problems _____________is having?

    How is ___________acting differently than before?

    What kind of character is  _________________?  How do you know?

    Why does _______________ say ________________?


    Questions about figurative/literal language:

    What do you think _________________means? 

    How do you know?  How does the sentence/text/picture help you figure out what the word means?



    What is the main idea?  How do you know?  What are some details?

    What did you learn? 

    Is there is a comparison to make? Ask what it is and why it's important.

    Do you think the information is true?  Why?

    Where and how did the author get the information for the book/article?

    Why did the author write this book? What is the author’s point of view?

    How did the author set-up the book?  What is the nonfiction structure?  What are the nonfiction text features the author used?