Monday, October 26, 2015

The Questions to Ask

When reading with your child, ask the questions that will get her thinking. You will be helping her to think more deeply about what she is reading. 

 You are not looking to test your child, but to encourage her to reflect.

Pam Allyn, a literacy expert and the director of LitWorld, encourages parents to ask open-ended questions during each read-aloud. “They prompt a higher-level critical thinking,” Allyn explains. “Fact-based questions only go in one direction, but comments like, ‘What are you wondering about?’ lead kids to inquiry-based learning, and that’s very important because it’s better practice for critical-thinking brains.” Developing critical thinking will help in the classroom, too. “In schools now there’s more emphasis on teachers asking more abstract-thinking questions.” 
If creative questioning doesn’t come naturally, Allyn advises simply asking yourself—before you ask your kids a question about the book you’re reading together—“Is this going to lead to more conversation, or to a one- or two-word response?”
Keep it light. Keep it fun. And let her know that her thoughts are important—that you value her ideas and opinions.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Plan Ahead for That School Visit

When you do visit your child's class, make sure to bring your child's favorite book to share with her friends. Talk together before the visit to plan the selelction. (Remember that you are visiting her world.)

It can be a book that is brand-new and not yet familiar to the other students. Or it might be a classroom favorite that the children know by heart. Good books can never be read too many times!  Children benefit from being exposed to a range of readers, with different styles.  And if your child is willing, let her read some of the book aloud as well. It is a chance for her to shine.

What I think . . .

There are all kinds of readers. Some—like my daughter and me—are never without a book to read for pleasure. Others—like my son—are careful, analytical, and curious readers who read primarily to seek information from the page.

No matter what kind of reader your child becomes, you can help him or her get started. After all, you are your child’s first teacher. And, best of all, you can have some fun in the process.

Please feel free to share your own ideas. Tell me about ways you've enjoyed reading with your child.

Madeline Boskey, Ph.D.