Educators often forget to tell parents some of the basics about education philosophy and what it means to the material they use to teach a child. Currently the implementation of the Common Core or what is more formally known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in some areas of the USA has changed many aspects of reading especially in the PreK to 6th grades. Especially important to parents in my mind is the shift in the common core of when a child is ‘Learning to Read’ to when they are expected to ‘Reading to Learn’.
Prior to Common Core the expectation for many schools that the shift of expectations occurred in the 5th grade. Now with Common Core this seemingly insignificant concept is shifted to the 3rd grade. This means the expectation of educators is that a student has mastered all the basics of reading and can now read competently with little to no help. For parents this means working with your child and their reading skills in the early years is more important than ever. The problem is that takes time…lots and lots of time and that is a commodity most parents in the USA do not have anymore.
So how can busy parents help a child learn to read better and faster? There is no silver bullet answer for that, but some suggestions for newborns to 7 year olds would include:
- Have books in the house and make sure some are at the level that your child can read
- Read for your own pleasure and let your child see you doing that
- While driving make a game out of reading road side signs
- Read to your child daily…bedtime story is best
- Get your child into a UPK (Universal Pre Kindergarten) program
- If your child goes to daycare make sure they read to your child and have books available for the children to look at. Do the same if you have a sitter or family member provide the care
- Use TV as a teaching tool BUT limit the time. Carey Bryson at About.com has a nice list of programs that encourage and teach reading skills
- Enlist the support of other family members like Gram and Gramps to read to as well as with your child
- Get a tutor to work with your child an hour or two per week
- Use web sites like ‘Learn to Read‘ that allow the child to explore reading through interactive sounds, reading, and video
- Use magazines, comics, and newspapers
- Use computers, tablets and other electronic devices. Teach your child how to search or ‘google’ for information.
- Ask your child’s teacher or school district for material to help your child’s reading development
- Go to the library. Explore it with your child and talk to the librarian…they can be an outstanding resource! Get your child a library card and take books out and return them
- Look for story hours that are age appropriate at your local library, Barnes and Noble store or local book store.
One final suggestion is that you keep in regular contact with your child’s teacher and remain aware of how your child is doing. Try to remember that the teacher and you are a team and neither can do the job of teaching your child alone!