Beginning of Year Strategies:

Ask your child to tell you what a "Good Fit Book" is:

A "Good Fit Book" is one where you....
          *...know most of the words (This can be hard!  When asked, the kids 
              usually say, "Yes!  I knew all of the words" - even when they didn't.
              Therefore, I tell the kids they should know all of the words.  We are 
              learning what this looks and sounds like!)
          *...understand the book - It makes sense to you! We talk a lot about how important it is to understand what we read.  We are always 
              asking ourselves, "Does this make sense?"

As you read with your child, stop and ask them "Did that make sense?"
**It is essential that your child read Good Fit Books in order to grow as a reader.  Please encourage, and help, your child find Good Fit Books to read at home!

Vacation Book:  A book that your student can read very fluently and understands what they are reading.  Too easy for the student, but can still enjoy every now and then. 

Good Fit Book:  A book that your student can read fluently, they understand what they are reading, knows almost all of the words (95-98% accurate!), and gets your student thinking!  These books are the key to helping your child grow as a reader and should be read the majority of the time!

Dream Book:  A book that your child is interested in reading, but he/she knows less than 95% of the words.  This is a book that can be enjoyed by having someone read to them. This is also a book that your child will someday be able to read, but only after continuously reading Good Fit Books to help them grow as a reader.
**It is still so helpful and important for you to read to your child! Take time everyday for them to read to you, and for you to read to them and enjoy books together!  This builds a love of reading!

We are also talking about how readers are strategic - they have a plan when they encounter problems and come to a word they don't know.  We will be talking about the following "fix-up" strategies:

Reading Strategy
Language to Use/Actions to take
Picture Clues
-When the pictures can help the reader figure out a word
“Take a look at the picture, that might give you a clue to that word”
-When the reader breaks the word into smaller pieces/chunks and puts them together
“Let’s try breaking that word into pieces.”

You can cover a part of the word for the student.
Ready, Say, Slide
-When the reader gets his/her mouth ready to say the first sound of the word, says the sound and then slides through the rest of the word
“Get your mouth ready and say the first sound of the word, ok let’s slide through the rest of the word.”

“What word would make sense there that starts with that sound?”
Skip the word (then go back)
-The reader skips (leaps over) the word, reads the rest of the sentence to see what would make sense and then goes back to re-read

“Try skipping the word and read the rest of the sentence, let’s think about what might make sense.”
Running Start, or "Blasting Through"
-After trying to figure out a tricky word, the reader gets a “running start” by going back to the beginning of the sentence to re-read up to the tricky word 
“Let’s try getting a running start and go back to the beginning of the sentence to re-read.”
Cross Check
-The reader asks him/herself:
1.Does the word look right?
2.Does it sound right?
3.Does it make sense?
“Ask yourself, does that look right? Sound right? Make sense?”
Flip the Vowel
-When the reader tries other sounds the vowel can make (short vs. long, sometimes “a” says the short “o” or short “u” sounds i.e about, ahead,)
“What other sound can (vowel) make?”

Ask your child:  "What can I do when I get stuck on a word?"

Finally, we also focus on comprehension strategies during Reader's Workshop time.  Good readers utilize a variety of comprehension strategies which help them become purposeful, active readers who are in control of their own reading comprehension.  These strategies include asking questions, predicting, monitoring your comprehension (being aware of when you do or don't understand), making inferences, visualizing what is happening in your head, and summarizing & synthesizing information.  Right now we are working on a comprehension strategy called Making Connections.  Look in this week's Homework Folder for a letter about Making Connections and how you can help make connections at home.

As you read with your child ask them, "What connections do you have?" or "What does this remind you of?"  You can also model the connections you are making.  It is great for them to hear examples of making meaningful connections!

A student who reads 20 minutes per day will read 1,800,000 words by the end of the sixth grade, compared with a student who reads one minute per day, who will read only 8,000 words. The student who reads one minute per day will only read .004% of what the 20 minute reader will read. Think about how much more information the 20 minute reader will have absorbed over time! 

What are reading comprehension strategies?
The purpose of reading is to construct meaning from text. Decoding a word (i.e., sounding it out or memorizing it) is only part of the equation. The deeper goal is always understanding. Reading comprehension strategies are research-identified behaviors that good readers possess. Our goal is to explicitly teach these strategies to young readers so they are not trying to simply read words, but also understand that words convey information, ideas, or a story. There are simple ways you can use and reinforce these strategies at home when reading with your children. 
How can I read "just right" books at home with my child?

1.  Look at the cover of the book and read the title. If they have not read it before, predict what the book might be about.
2. Do a “picture walk”.  Flip through pages and talk about what is happening in each picture. 
3.  Go back and read together.  Make sure they are pointing to each word as they read.
4. After reading the book go back and discuss the story.  Here are some guiding questions/ideas:
  •  Does this remind you of anything?  (Making connections)
  •  Was your prediction that you made before the story right?
  •   Have you ever…? (Make a connection to personal experience)
  •  What do you think will happen next?  (Predicting)
  •  Can you find the word “and” on page 3?  (Word level practice)
  •  How did you know that was the word “and”? (Reflecting on reading      strategies they know and use)
  •  Now that we’ve finished…tell me what happened.  (Retell)
  •  I wonder….(asking questions)
  •  How did you figure out that hard word?  (Reflecting on thinking)
  •       Talk me through what you were thinking. 
  •  What clues did you use to help you? (picture clues, first letter sound, it makes sense, etc.)

What do I do when my child gets to a tricky word?

Look at the picture.
Say the beginning sound.
Go back to the beginning of the sentence and reread.
 Try a word (if they are still stuck)
~Does it make sense?
~Does it sound right?
~Does it look right?