Thursday, February 28, 2013
When my daughter was an infant, I remember sitting her on my lap and reading out loud to her from just about anything: my latest novel, the newspaper, kid books, EW magazine, you name it. It felt weird and foolish, but I knew that parents were supposed to read to their kids every day. Yeah, okay.
When she was four, I put her in phonics class at her day care, figuring they knew better than I did how to teach her to read. It worked: she entered kindergarten reading small words. I did a small cheer, still read to her at night, and let it go.
When she was six and started first grade, life got complicated. DH got sick, which created stress at home. Reading fell by the wayside. To make matters worse, her teacher was not the best reading instructor. Within a few short months, Kate became a struggling and reluctant reader. The remedy? A full year of me working with her daily at home, going back to basics: sounding out words, using context clues, etc. Daily battles with a stubborn daughter who outright cried several times, saying, "I'm not good at this! I hate reading!" (As an English teacher, I just cringed inside and kept pushing along.)
Well, tonight we met with her teacher for her parent conferences and...she is a proficient reader! She is actually two levels above the expected level for February. The best part? She told her teacher all about the books she likes, her favorite stories, etc.
All those years, before I had kids, I knew the mantra: Read with your kids 15 minutes every day. Yeah, I heard it. But I never realized how critical, how absolutely vital, daily reading is for student success.
Read to your kids. Read with your kids. Share a book and switch off readers every other page. Read in weird places: by the fireplace, in a tent, in a tree. Have a family reading time where everyone in the family curls up with their own book for 20 minutes. Talk about books. Ask questions. Give opinions. Enjoy!
We certainly will not repeat our mistake with kid #2! :)