Many of us know that reading is an active process. So many things must happen at once in order for us to understand what we're reading.
We must remember all we know about letter-sound relationships. We must decode the words on the page. We must know the meaning of the word. We must understand how the words, the sentences, the paragraphs fit together. We must combine what we already know and what we're learning. We must use this new knowledge to form opinions and ideas.
It's not easy.
And some young readers get stuck at the decoding, and then they're finished. Or they can decode the words, but then they can't understand how it all fits together. Or they just have so much in their head at once that they become overwhelmed and quit.
So our goal as parents should be not only to raise readers but to raise active readers.
We want our kids to be active participants in the process, thinking about what they are reading and growing from each experience.
How do we do that? We give them two tools: a pencil and a sticky note pad.
And we tell them:
I know that sometimes reading is difficult for you, but I know you are so smart, and I want to help you. How about showing me what you mean. As you read, I want you to use the sticky notes to show me what you are thinking: Put an exclamation mark on the sticky note for parts of the story that surprise you; put a question mark on the note for parts that confuse you; and put a checkmark on the sticky note for parts that you think are really important.
And then when you are finished, we'll look at the notes and talk through them, okay?
This method is not new; it's been around for years and years, and there are tons of variations. But I like the simplicity of this one, and I like that there's definite parent support in the follow-up.
Remember: the notes don't mean anything if they just sit there after your child writes them! It's imperative that we follow-up and support our young readers!
Have you tried this method for raising more active readers? How did it go? We'd love to hear it!
Please share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!
Read all posts by Amy Mascott.