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Reading Today vs. Reading in the Past
Do you remember what reading class was like when you were in elementary school? You may remember reading boring short stories from textbooks and answering a lot of questions to show comprehension. Perhaps you did book reports on assigned novels or made cute diaramas in shoeboxes?
Although we recognize the fact that we did become better readers in school, we also know that there is a better way to teach reading today. Today, we know that it is better to allow students to choose their own books for the majority of their reading assignments. This allows students to choose material that is interesting to them and appropriate for their reading level.
As a parent, you may be thinking, "How does a teacher teach reading if all the kids are reading different books?" It's not as complicated as you might think. When students are reading their independent texts they are asked to do assignments that work with any reading material. For example, they might be asked to maintain a record of new vocabulary words they encounter in the text. Or, they may be asked to write a journal in which they describe some aspect of their story.
When there is a specific skill or topic that needs to be taught, I may share a short piece of text or a short story with the class so we can all learn from the same example.
Although the teaching of reading has changed over the years, one thing has not: The more you read, the better you get at reading. Students who are avid readers routinely score high on MEAP and NWEA reading tests.
In the fifth grade, my top reading students typically read 2-3 novels each week, which includes reading completed both at school and at home.
I realize that it is not always easy getting a child to read. Finding the right "hook", -that first book that your child really connects with, is not always easy to do. Try to make frequent visits to libraries and bookstores. Keep the books flowing in and out of your home. Be sure to schedule some down time during the day. (Easier said than done, I know.) I find that I prefer to do my reading when I am relaxed and have a good chunk of time to commit. Reading can become part of the bedtime routine. And finally, keep in mind that if reading time is competing with TV or video game time, you will be facing an uphill battle every time you ask your child to read.
Bring your reading to a whole new level!
Students can read exciting short stories and informational texts by logging into Raz-Kids with their usernames and passwords. To advance to higher levels, students will be asked to complete a short test after reading each text to demonstrate comprehension.
Throughout the year, we will be learning about figurative language. Students are encouraged to be on the lookout for examples in the books they read. Students are also encouraged to use figurative language to spice up their writing.