Great Readers
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Great readers are created and helped along by caring parents and teachers.

Want to make a significant difference in your child’s academic success?

Of course, you do!

You can have a powerful impact on your child’s literacy and learning. Help your child by placing a few simple strategies into action …

How You Can Help Your Child Become a Great Reader

First, provide print materials of various kinds for your child to see, touch, manipulate, and claim as his or her very own.

A few good examples are picture books, coloring sheets, magazines, etc. Provide pencils, crayons, and plenty of paper for your child to enjoy.

Note: If your child has difficulty writing or coloring, buy the chubby pencils and chubby crayons.

Tips for Success

  • Remember, eye-hand coordination is a developmental skill. Your child must GROW into that stage where it’s possible for his hands and eyes to work together. And, of course, you cannot rush growth.
  • Read aloud. And when you do, promote positive attitudes about reading and writing. You and I already know that attitude is SO important. It’s tremendously helpful whenever your child sees you reading the newspaper (or anything) and knows you're enjoying it.
  • Invite your child to read with you every day. When reading a book where the print is large, point word-by-word as you read. Why?
  • This will help your child learn that reading goes from left to right AND from top to bottom of the page. Both of these are crucial skills for your child to know - in order to learn to read.
  • Also, your child will understand that the words he or she sees you pointing to are the SAME ONES you are saying.

Great Readers Become Good Writers

  • Whenever your child discovers a book that he or she loves, read it over and over. They'll love it!
  • Read stories with rhyming words and repeated lines. Invite your child to join in on these parts. Now, point word-by-word as your child reads along with you.
  • Discuss new words. For example if you read, “This big house is called a palace,” stop and ask your child, “Who do you think lives in a palace?”
  • Discuss each illustration. Stop and ask, “What is happening in the story?”
  • Read from a variety of children's books, including fiction, such as picture books, poetry and fairy tales. Read nonfiction information about science and social studies, for example, found in books and magazines.
  • If your child is having difficulty in school with learning and/or behavior ...

    Be sure he or she can see well and can hear well.

    Be sure he or she is getting enough sleep and is eating something healthy for breakfast.

    If in doubt, follow up with an overall health checkup.

You CAN help your child toward academic success. And reading well is an essential first step. These simple strategies will help you grow a great reader.

My article, Great Readers, is an adaptation of information provided by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Communications and Outreach, Washington, D.C., 2005
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