Monday, February 17, 2020

Should I Continue Having My Child Read To Me Daily?

Your 6 year old can read. You’ve been having him or her read to you aloud daily from a popular series of leveled readers. You’re thinking you could drop this from your schedule. After all, your child reads independently daily, choosing books like Frog and Toad. They can read, and they do read, so you’re done, right?

No. 

It’s a good idea to have your 6 year old (or 7, or 8, or 9 year old) continue to read aloud to you daily.

You don’t have to use specific readers, even if evvveryone else is using them. (Is evvveryone else reeeally using them? Um, no.) 

And what you have your child read to you doesn’t have to be long. You can make a lot of headway with short, consistent lessons.

You can have your child read aloud to you from any subject area. In fact, it’s a good idea - a better idea - to have your child read aloud from books in different subject areas, and by different authors, so your child can see a wider variety of words in print and get help from you with how to attack them.

You want to be able to assess what your reader needs next, the next right thing, and by having him or her just read to himself you’re not able to do that. 

Frog and Toad books are wonderful (we have them all), but you need to hear your child read text that increases in complexity over time, text with multisyllabic words, suffixes, sentence variety, etc. Buddy reading is great for this. You read a sentence, your child reads a sentence. Or you can do it any number of ways, the emphasis not being “I’m quizzing you,” but “we’re reading as a team.”

Gemma and I buddy-read her history chapter Monday. Gemma is 8, and has been reading independently for a few years, but she doesn’t love Ambleside Online’s choice of history books. She prefers a well-researched novel that allows the reader to get lost in an individual historical figure’s world. 

Today, we buddy-read This Country of Ours. While Gemma can read chapter books, she can read them because she likes them. If she listens to an Ambleside Online history book, she doesn’t seem to pay as close attention to it as I’d like. I’m sometimes wrong. Recently, I thought she hadn’t been paying attention to a reading, but three days later, when I said, “I don’t think you were listening when Daddy read the previous chapter,” she told back a paragraph from that chapter almost word for word. (Yes, I apologized.)

One of the benefits of buddy reading is that a young reader can get help pronouncing words they understand in context, but don’t use in everyday speech. For example, my 8 year old doesn’t throw around the adjectives “autocratic,” “despotic,” and “tyrannical.” 

Thankfully.

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