Monday, January 26, 2009

Using Reading Strategies

I am an avid reader and through my own "formal" school years have exceled in english and reading. I truly believe that a solid foundation to any academic education is reading. When I began homeschooling my eldest, we went over shapes,colors, and those sorts of things, but as soon as she showed an interest in reading at age 4 we went for it. We started her on the Hooked on Phonics program and she completed it in and was reading at at a 1st/2nd grade level by age 5. Everything was so much easier for her and she seemed to excel because she was reading on her own,able to read directions, and just wanting to read everything. Now she is at another level of reading where we are dissecting stories and other genres of text to look for meaning and understanding. We are using a list of reading strategies that are working well. We as adults probably use some of these strategies as we read. For example, you may look at the title and pictures before you begin reading a story or you may think about what you want to find out while reading. Using these strategies can help your child/student become a better reader.Here is a list of strategies that will improve their reading.

1. Use Decoding/Phonics - once your children have an understanding of phonics, they will be able to break down a word and pronounce it correctly.

2. Make and Confirm Prediction- it's good to ask your child what they think will happen next in a story, hightening their anticipation. They will want to continue reading hoping to confirm their prediction and see what the outcome is going to be. It brings a sense of excitement.

3.Create Mental Images- Whether the story has pictures or not as you read a story you are still able to create your own mental images as to what is going on or will go on in a story. I encourage mental imagery when my daughter reads chapter books because not only does she become more interested in the story, but it sure make for a great art project as well:)

4.Self Question- Sometimes we read and ask ourselves different questions while we read; Why is this happening? why would they do a things like that?, etc. You may be surprised how deep a child can get into a story.

5.Summarize-Summarizing is great while reflecting on what they have read. It shows how much of an understanding they have of the story and how well they pick up on details.

6. Read Aloud- Reading aloud is very good for the shy child or child who may have a little trouble with phonetics. You will be able to coach thet shy child and give them confidence in their reading and help the child who is having phonetic trouble. I have tutored children who may look at a word and it's first two letters and say a completely wrong word or skip words entirely. Those are things that need to be addressed early on.

7. Reread to Clarify- it is good to have your children reread things to check their level of understanding.

8.Use Context to Confirm Meaning-The definition of a word is not always expressed in a story as it would be in a dictionary. Your child may have to use context clues to find the definition of a word. (Example Grasp. to take hold of something tightly with the hands. Onye grasped the bars on the jungle gym set and pulled herself up.)

9.Use Text Structure and Format- Explaining how different text is formated and structured i.e. poetry,short stories etc. it will open up another level of understanding beyond just the text itself.

10. Adjust Reading Rate- Sometimes you may want your child to pick up the pace or slow down their reading. They may be reading at quicker pace , but not grasping the meaning of the text or they could be reading to slow or not enough to get to the meaning. It all depends on the project and the depth of the reading.

YOu will defenitely want to

be aware of what they do understand,

identify what they do not understand, and

use appropriate "fix-up" strategies to resolve problems in reading and comprehension.

I use these strategies myself so it's not just for the children:)Peace

Good Book to Incorporat Into Your history Lessons

This is a book that my 7 year old has been reading for history. This book is a historical fiction set during the time of the "Reconstruction Period" This book is meant for children ages 8 and up, but it depends on your child's level of understanding and reading level. It is about a 12-year-old orphaned slave who leaves South Carolina in search of a Freedmen's Bureau during the Reconstruction Period to claim the "40 acres and a mule"that was promised to them. I have compiled some subjects found in the book that can be expanded upon for further study.
Reconstruction Era
Freedman's Bureau
Emancipation Proclamation
Political Parties (Democarat/Republican etc.)
Abraham Lincoln
Carpet Baggers
Scalewags
Abolitionist
Bureau of Refugees
Freedman
Abandoned Lands
Union Leagues
Ku Klux Klan
Black Codes
Civil Rights Act
Southern Laws during slavery
There are also many vocabulary words that can be found and used for spelling and vocabulary activities. I always read a chapter ahead of my daughter so that I can create a vocab list of words that we can go over before we read so she has a complete understanding of the text. tyhis is where she also gets her practice using the dictionary and thesaurus. You can also go across the curriculum using the southern states in geography lessons, art, science and math. This is a good book and very readable. It is filled with many words and subjects that can bring forth many ideas and activities in your schooling.Much sucess on your journey ......~Light~