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Family Guide: How can I support my student with Reading at home?

Do you have a student who loves Reading and you want to seek tips to support that at home?

Do you have a student who "hates" or "dislikes" the idea of Reading?

Do you feel overwhelmed or guilty around supporting your students with Reading?

Do you have a student who wants to read but sometimes get frustrated with it?

Do you have a student who's pretty good at Reading but struggles with comprehension?

Would you like fun, little to no cost ways to make Reading FUN in your home?

If you are nodding your head or thinking YES to any of these, this blog is FOR, grab your favorite snack or beverage, and KEEP READING!

1st...lets Understand PERSPECTIVE(s)

Understanding perspective is very important to help all parties relate to one another and develop an understanding which can have a positive impact on the Reading process!

A student's perspective: What reading feels like to me

Students oftentimes express their thoughts in a general way by saying: "I don't like reading!" "I hate reading!" If students could, they may express their thoughts in this way:

  • It takes me a long time to read and follow along to something.

  • I don't understand what that story was even about.

  • Why did that character even do that? I don't get it!

  • I don't really know what the most important part of the book was.

  • I couldn't and don't really know how to create an image of what I read.

*Ask your student in an open-ended way: Which perspective of Reading do you feel you can relate most to and why? (Be sure to say it in a relaxed, judgement-free way to get them to open up.)

A family's perspective: What I notice and see at home

"What we want it to be like..."

"What it's really like at times..."

Here are some clues for families that a student may struggle with comprehension

  • The student is not able to summarize what they read

  • The student may be able to retell what happened but can't explain why it happened that way

  • The student can't explain why thoughts and feelings happened the way they did

  • The student has a hard time making connections between books, or even real life

*Ask yourself: Can I relate to any of the perspectives? Do I notice something different?

How can I make Reading FUN and not frustrating?

  • Fun Rule #1:

Be sure the student is Reading books on their Reading Level. It can be very discouraging and can actually make a student not want to read at all, when they are reading books that are too challenging!

  • Fun Rule #2:

Students love taking charge of their lives! Let them choose books that are interesting to them, that they actually want to read! It's okay to let them look at the title, cover, back of book, and first few pages to decide a book! This may be cheaper to do, by taking them to the library!

  • Fun Rule #3:

It's okay to let them read audiobooks and listen to books out loud! This builds vocabulary and background knowledge! They get to relax and find the "magic" in the story! It can also help if your student is feeling a little overwhelmed with Reading or not in the mood to read out loud!

  • Fun Rule #4

Okay, so I think this one is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! Help your student create a reading area that he/she would want to hang out in! Think about like a college dorm room fun setting: beanbags, posters, pillows, rugs, lamps. In other words, set the mood for FUN! You can even include their favorite snacks and drinks in that area, if it won't get too messy!

  • Fun Rule #5

It's okay to break a couple of rules and get a little naughty! If you have a frustrated reader, allow him/her to stay up late with their lamp and read a good book! Sometimes, you read to your student instead of them reading every time, even make a silly or fancy voice! Let your student move when they read~sit on a bouncy ball, hula-hoop, jump, or play with a fidget toy!

  • Fun Rule #6

Don't ignore the problem, or in slang terms: "The Elephant in the Room." If your student needs help with Reading, get them help now. Don't wait. Testing and Tutoring is a great way to get help, and here at LCB Tutoring I help students become confident readers and help them LOVE learning! I have tried "denial" before, and it doesn't work! The elephant will only grow bigger if we ignore it, so get help now!

How can students and families help at home?
Student creating a "mental picture" in his head as he reads!

A family reading together with their tiny cute!

What students can do to help themselves

  • Use notes, maps, guides, or outlines while reading

  • Make colorful flashcards or use Quizlet for terms you want to remember

  • Break up Reading into short chunks and make sure you remember what you read before reading more

  • Ask, "Does this make sense?" If it doesn't, that's okay, reread the part that didn't make sense.

  • Reading with a buddy can be fun, and stopping to remember what you read. (If you don't have a buddy, try a stuffed animal or an imaginary friend.)

  • Ask your parent or teacher to "preview" the book before you read on your own

  • As you read, try to form mental pictures or images that match the story.

What families can do to help at home

  • Have a discussion on what your student has read. Ask your student open ended questions, and even relate them to life! For example, say "I wonder why that boy did that?" or "How do you think she felt? Why?" and "So, what lesson can we learn here?".

  • Help students make connections from the book to a movie, another story, or something that maybe happened in their life

  • Help your student monitor and pause to be sure they are understanding

  • Help your student go back to the story to support ALL ANSWERS

  • Help students discuss meanings of unknown words

  • Encourage your student to read in short chunks, quality over quantity

  • Discuss what your student has learned from the story

Just some FUN pictures on ways to make Reading fun in your homes!

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I were reading "Yo Gabba Gabba!" Well, she was small so I was doing all the reading and she was listening and adoring the pictures! We watched the show that matched the book and put on matching wigs to match the mermaid colored hair that one of the "Yo Gabba Gabba" characters were wearing!

Update: My daughter is now almost 4 years old, and she LOVES BOOKS! It all started with us MAKING IT FUN! (She doesn't know how to read yet, but she loves to be read to, and we are starting to teach her words.)

Letting students dress up as their favorite book character! And this can cost $0. For example: One of my 4th grade students I currently tutor, we are reading Wonder by RJ Palacio! One day we dressed up before a session. She used her mom's eyeliner to draw lines on her face to make scars on her face like the main character August Pullman. I dressed up as Via, Auggie's sister. I wore my hair down and sort of just looked "plain" like Via in the story.

Fun Reading area ideas! This does not have to be fancy or expensive! See above, Fun Rule #4 for simple ideas!

I hope you found this blog helpful! And remember, start slow and simple. Choose 1 thing you can implement first in your home and try that 1 thing the next few weeks or month. Allow your students to decide what they want to try 1st as well!

Question(s) you can comment on this blog or answer below:

What tip or idea would you like to implement 1st? What about your student?

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