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March is Reading Month

Spring and reading month are here! From picture reading to the hierarchy of all the reading components, the acquisition of reading skills is vital to a democracy. Learning to read and think critically is the basis for decision making, voting, and distinguishing truth from fakery.

Children who are just being introduced to reading will benefit from books with plenty of pictures. A parent can show them how to embellish and build a story based on the pictures. This is a great way to engage young minds, develop attention, and get children excited about the next stage of reading.

Where Kindergarten used to be about playing and getting along well with others, it has become the place where formal reading instruction begins. Continue to read aloud to children because we never get tired of sitting close to a loved one and hearing a good story. Start asking them the important comprehension questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Encourage them to read aloud, filling in the words that they haven’t yet mastered. When reading is associated to a fun and loving time, enthusiasm for developing the skills for reading are enhanced.

By the time that the mechanics of reading decoding and comprehension have been mastered, students are expected to identify the moral, theme, and tone of the book, as well as the point of view and the character development. They are now going beyond the surface and really discovering the deeper meaning on many levels. I often would read the same books as my children were assigned, so that I could discuss with them the parts that I thought they might find confusing or disturbing.

Students are expected to increase the number of minutes of copious reading as they age. Copious reading means reading without interruption – no texting, snacking, or stopping. For every grade level add ten minutes – 1st Grade, ten minutes; 4th grade, forty minutes, by 12 grade, 2 hours of copious reading should be the goal. Children who cannot yet accomplish this may be encouraged with a timer, a verbal or tangible reward, and definitely improved progress in school.

We want reading to be seen less as homework and more as another leisure activity.

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