As teachers and parents, we want our kids to enjoy reading. But that can often feel easier said than done. There is far too much anxiety attached to literacy nowadays, and a decrease in confidence across the board when it comes to reading comprehension. There is a constant struggle between assigning texts to students and walking away with the feeling that they retained nothing because they were incapable of relating to the story……or allowing them to freely choose books and risk them selecting texts below grade level. So how can we ensure growth with literacy? Especially during the holiday season when children want to unwind and make selections themselves.
Reading “for fun” is both important and necessary- a great deal of the negative stigma attached to reading revolves around the feeling that too many restrictions are being placed on what students read. But what if we could guarantee that children were actively reading whenever they read, regardless of the selection? You can have them focus on a specific idea or concept each week.
For example, children (particularly elementary and middle school students) struggle to make connections concerning character traits and relationships between characters. During winter break, you can focus one week on having your child identify how one character treats another character. Emphasize that you just want the focus to be on one character. This will often prove very difficult for the reader because children tend to want to focus on multiple things at once. Therefore, to encourage close reading, give them post it notes so that they can mark areas where they detect evidence of how one character is treating another. At the end of the week, ask them to write a paragraph summarizing their findings and then have a conversation with them about it.
Whether they’re reading Harry Potter, Diary of Wimpy Kid, or A to Z Mysteries they will be able to engage with the text and improve upon a key concept….while still feeling like they’re reading for fun! For more tips, check out our Facebook Page.