Back to School Catch-up for Families: Practice Reading Aloud

How is your child at reading aloud? Did you know that this one skill is the main reading diagnostic test for many schools?*

As you prepare for back to school, I strongly suggest that you have your child practice reading aloud. This skill often takes a big hit during summer slide; nevertheless, students usually are evaluated on reading aloud within the first week of school. Have your child practice with appropriate grade-level books if you can, but use easier books if your child is not a strong reader. Check for fluency: a natural cadence, automatic word decoding, good pronunciation and accuracy.

Ten minutes a day is plenty for a child who already reads at grade level (or did at the end of last school year.) If your child was just barely making it last school year, this summer practice is essential and should be longer. You’ll probably want to break it into two fifteen minute chunks a day, more if the child is motivated. For struggling readers, you might want to read the material aloud before the child reads it. Another trick is to read aloud with your child, pulling him along. This is better than having the child stumble through the text.

*One common test is DIBELS, the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. It measures how many words your child accurately reads from a grade-level passage in a minute. Schools use this test to quickly identify struggling readers. Teachers often use it to form reading groups.

Note: I don’t want to cause stress to you and your child about these back-to-school assessments. I merely want to show you how to help your child brush up skills so her work reflects actual ability, not the effects of summer slide.

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Posted in Back to School,Tips for Parents by Corey Green @ Aug 16, 2011


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