Family Blog Series #2- Making Reading Meaningful
Hi families. Thank you so much for joining me for this blog series! Today I wanted to talk about the most important thing you can be doing to support students academically while they are at home with you.
We truly don’t know how long schools will be out, but the longer it goes on the more we need to consider “regression.” Regression means students lose skills they previously had. While it’s certainly NOT more important than family health and safety, it is a concern…especially as weeks or even months pass without school.
Please know that I 100% understand that many families are just trying to make it through the day. If you are struggling to work from home with kids with you or worried about losing paychecks, making sure your kids don’t lose reading skills is NOT something you should worry about. But when you are settled and looking for routine and activities to keep your kids occupied and learning, I hope these tips are helpful to you. ❤️
Before we dive into reading strategies, I thought we’d talk really quickly about a daily schedule. Many families will be trying to navigate working from home AND watching their kids it’s super important that kids know what to expect. The more of a schedule/routine you can offer them, the more likely they are to give you time to work. Also, remember to a lot of kids this is new and exciting. Give them some time to enjoy the time off before you jump into a strict schedule. There will be plenty of time for that.
This schedule is floating around in a few different formats but I think its a great base schedule for you to tweak. I’ll mostly be focusing on the academic time on this blog but there are so many other bloggers who have amazing ideas for outside and creative time. I’m also working on some Pin boards for those who need ideas!
In my opinion, splitting up academic time will be much easier to manage but some parents might find that they are able to get more work done if their kids get it done at once. I would encourage you to include reading during many parts of the day…especially both academic times.
In order to read our kiddos need BOOKS. Some of you might have vast libraries at home but others may only have books that are sent home or the few your students like to read at night. I wanted to share some ideas and resources for those with limited libraries.
Online Resources for Books
Epic-One of my favorite places for virtual books is Epic. It has thousands of books you can read on your phone or tablet. They also offer a free month for families…I think they will likely be offering free membership soon with all that is going on. If you’d like a membership, they are $7.99/month.
Storyline Online-If you have kids who love listening to stories, Storyline Online is a fan favorite. Celebrities (some your kids will know, some they won’t) read popular books and their expressions are always awesome. I also love that the books aren’t animated…it just shows the illustrations. Entertaining, beautifully done and free!
Hoopla-If you have a public library card, Hoopla and Overdrive offer a ton of amazing and popular audiobooks!
Other Ideas for Books
If your school didn’t send home books and you’re looking to add more books to your home library, here are a few more options.
Amazon-I have alot of my favorite titles on Amazon. They take a few days but Amazon still seems to be running strong. I don’t think the research is definitive yet, but I’d encourage you to leave them in the box for a few days to let any lingering germs die.
Target or Walmart-Many Target and Wal-Mart stores are still open and they offer drive-up for your purchases. They have lots of great, popular titles you could grab today. Like Amazon, I would wipe down the cover if you can and leave them in the bag for a few days.
Book Swap- Another great idea for getting new books for your kids is to organize a neighborhood book swap. If you are part of a local parent group you could post pictures of books you have that would like to swap and parents could pick it up off your doorstep. In the same way, when other parents post books your kids would like, you can pick it up from theirs. It’s a great way to build community and make the most of our situation! You could also work with your schools PTA to set up a little free book library outside the school. All you need is a few waterproof tubs that could sit outside the school. Families could drop off and take books depending on their needs.
How Should We Read?
The most important thing to remember is there is no right way to read. While students are home they are missing out on teacher read-alouds, partner reading and small group reading. That’s a lot of important time and instruction! Here are the ways we want our students to read every day.
- LISTEN to Reading- It is super important that readers (especially growing readers) hear fluent reading each day. Students can listen to you read, big siblings or use the tools I mentioned above. Audio books are a great way for students to listen to reading while also giving parents a break.
- Independent Reading- Students need time each day to read books on their level. If you don’t have books at home and their school wasn’t able to send them home, you can find printable books at Enchanted Learning and DLTK Kids. For students who are still growing as readers (only know a few sight words and struggle to figure out new words) it’s very important that they read out loud. They need to hear themselves and the mistakes they make.
If your kids are reading to themselves (either aloud or silently) ideally they will be thinking about the book while they read. This is a skill teachers work on all year long so hopefully they have had some practice so far. If you are reading with your child, be sure to point out things you are thinking and noticing. Here are some things you might say while reading.
After your child has read independently or you have read with them its’ super important that they spend a few minutes chatting or writing about what they read. This doesn’t need to happen after every time they read during the day…but at least once during the day, I would encourage you to spend some time working on their understanding of the book. Here are some questions/phrases you can use!
FUN Reading Ideas
Even though academic time during the day is important, its even more important that reading doesn’t become a chore. We want our students to love reading at home and at school! Here are a few ideas to bring some excitement into your reading time!
What questions do you have for me about reading with your child at home? I would love to answer them! Drop me a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing more of my favorite online resources for learning at home. See you then!