October 20, 2016
It’s mid-October and the school year is well underway, with teachers handing out homework to reinforce the skills they teach their students in the classroom. Reading homework is just as important as homework in any other class and is a skill used time and time again throughout a person’s life. Most adults have likely been reading so long that it’s hard to remember what it was like to struggle through a sentence. Carolyn Wilhelm at the website Cult of Pedagogy has some great tips for parents when it comes to reading homework.
Reading homework often requires a parent to listen to a child as he or she reads aloud. For older children, reading homework may consist of reading for a number of set minutes each day or each week. Just like during summer reading programs at the library, parents and students need to keep track of the amount of time their kids are reading. Wilhelm reminds parents that they should be reading with their child, not doing something else. Not only does reading with your child enforce the importance of reading, most children enjoy having their parent’s attention and help when it comes to practicing this all-important skill. Once your child can read independently, it is still vital for parents to model the importance of reading, as it’s a skill that helps exercise all parts of the brain and can help children become lifelong learners and critical thinkers.
One of Wilhelm’s other reminders is not to stop reading aloud to your child once they can read by themselves. Many of us enjoy listening to audiobooks, but do you ever stop to wonder why? I believe that audiobooks remind us of those days when we were children listening to our parents read aloud to us. Reading aloud is a practice that should be continued as long as possible. The high school students that I taught before becoming a librarian loved read-aloud days. Many of these students were below grade level when came to reading (according to their placement tests), but enjoyed hearing books read to them that were technically more sophisticated and would be “too difficult” for them to read on their own. They became more interested in reading stories and practicing the reading skills that they were learning.
Check out more of Wilhelm’s suggestions here: http://www.cultofpedagogy.com/reading-homework-tips-for-parents and remember that reading with your child, no matter their age, is one of the best activities you can do together!