Tips from the King of Skittledeedoo
by Patricia Rust
Patricia Rust has been asked about her suggestions for getting kids exciting about reading and here are some of her suggested rules for reading.
- Parents as partners.
Think of your relationship with your children as a partnership. You and your children must work together to make learning a priority and make your children a success in school.
- Read aloud with a child.
This is a special and bonding experience for both reader and listener. It creates an intimacy unlike anything else. Some books can be read to a child who later reads that book to siblings and parents. At the very least, read your children a story before bed.
- Always carry a book.
Always. Not sometimes. When you are in line at the supermarket and your children are asking you to buy them the whole store; that's a great time to pull out a book and start reading. Ask your children to make correlations between the story and the people in the store or to answer questions about the characters in the book. "Do you think that man over there looks like the man in the book? Why do you think he ran away from the lion?" Use drive time as an opportunity to listen to your children read to you to give them practice figuring out words.
- Make a weekly trip to the library or bookstore a priority.
Let's face it: these places are as rich for children as adults. Feel free to sit on the floor and read with you children. Ask your children to find books that interest them rather than choosing books you enjoyed as a child. Collect favorite books. If you cannot, make a list of the titles and rotate checking them out from the library.
- Be passionate about what your children are doing.
Get involved. Get interested. Ask questions. Take part in school programs. Set an example in all that you do. Carry books. Read books. Offer to help with school field trips, go to parent/teacher meetings, and never miss any school related events. Statistics show that "A" students have involved parents.
- Good readers are detectives.
A word about learning: Understand how it works. Reading is visual, aural, and tactile. Good readers use the pictures as visual clues for the words they don't know. They learn the sounds of letters and the shapes of words. If something doesn't make sense, they'll try it again, and again, and again until they get it. Poor readers don't look for clues and by the time they get to the end of a sentence, they are lost, which causes them to lose interest in the book. It becomes an uphill battle from there.
- Readers make good computer masters.
The computer does not teach children to read, but once children can read, they can use the computer to expand their knowledge and enhance their learning skills.
- Explain what reading is.
It is a portal to the world, many worlds. Encourage independent reading because children discover so much this way. You might even consider setting up family reading time together when everyone reads different books together. Be ready to explain words and concepts as your children read.
- Keep the creative side alive.
Crayons, pencils, pastels, papers are all part of reinforcing the reading after a story is told or children have finished the family reading session. Perhaps the children will try to draw a character or create a sequel to the story. Keep those creative wings alive and flying. Try to limit their television time and encourage more creative endeavors instead.
- Volunteer to read at your local library or school.
Kids love to be read to. Offer to come to school to read. Kids love field trips and guest readers. You can really help teachers and other parents by being physically present and ready to help with the process.