Well, it is that time of year again. My kids are off to school, and I am excited to begin writing a brand new book. I will be creating the book through this blog, and you will have free access to all of it’s content here. This book/blog series is called Seven Habits of Highly Effective Readers and will give you information on what you can do to create an avid reader.
Did you know that highly effective readers actually like reading out loud? They like the way they sound when they start reading out loud, and they volunteer to read in class because they love to read. What makes them want to read? Well, for starters, they understand the purpose of punctuation. Ask a kid, who is not a highly effective reader, what a comma is for and they will answer with, "I don't know."
Here are all of the things that a highly effective reader does when it comes to reading out loud.
1. Raise their hand to read out loud
2. Reads with expression
3. Follows the rules for punctuation
Let's take a look at what is all involved with raising your hand to read out loud. First a child that raises their hand to read has a lot of self confidence in their reading abilities. Raising their hand means that they are risk takers. They don't sit and worry what is going to happen if they don't get the word correct. They are confident that they will be able to figure it out and are willing to take a helping hand if they need it. They don't personalize the mistake and use it as evidence that they are not a very good reader. They realize that all readers mess up on words once in a while.
This is where the Matthew effect comes in. Have you ever head of the idea, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Well, it comes into play with reading as well. Since there are these readers that are highly effective and are willing to raise their hand because they are confident in their abilities, other kids will get less reading time in the classroom.
So what can we do to make all readers feel comfortable to raise their hand to read?
1. Don't allow others to give away the word unless asked. Asking for help needs to be a strategy and not something that we do to readers who can't figure it out.
2. Have your child read out loud at home. This can be done with a parent reading one page and the adult reading another page. If you are looking for ideas on how to do this you can get 31 Days to Become a Better Reader: Increasing your struggling reader's reading level.
3. If your child messes up on a word, say, "Try again." This doesn't make them feel bad, and it gets them thinking about the right word and what would make sense with any arguments.
4. Praise the child on the things they are doing well when they read out loud so they can begin to see how well they really are. When we are helping kids we have the opportunity to build up or tear down. Focus on your responses on 4 positive things to every 1 helpful idea to improve and get better. Kids who get too much criticism (as they view it) are less likely to view themselves in a positive light.
Kids that are already highly effective readers are already receiving praises for what a great reader they are. So they don't need more praises, but kids that don't see themselves in this light do need it.
What kinds of things do you do help other readers build their self confidence in their reading abilities?