Reading fluently and with strong comprehension is the most important life skill a child can acquire. Third grade is a critical year for emerging readers.
- Out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year. (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988)
- If a child reads as much as one million words per year, they will be in top 2% of all children on standardized reading tests. If a child reads as little as 8000 words per year, they will be in bottom 2% of all children on standardized reading tests. Therefore, if you read 3,000 words every day you will be in the top 2%. If you read 20 words every day, you will be in the bottom 2%.
With all of this in mind the most important thing a child can do is spend time reading book at their just-right reading level. Students will be assessed at various points in the year to determine their just-right reading level.
How can you help?
- Serve as a model reader - read a variety of text and show enthusiasm for the materials and topics
- Take time to listen to your child read a few times per week. When you do, make it a warm read. This means, that you should ask your child to return to a previous portion of the text - the beginning of the chapter they are currently reading or a few chapters back - and have him/her start there.
- When you read with your child, if he or she makes an error, allow him/her to finish the sentence or even the paragraph. This is in hopes that he or she will catch any errors. If he/she does not catch the error, stop him/her and say, "Wait, can you go back and reread? Something did not make sense." Doing this will build the internal voices your child should hear when reading independently to alert him/her to the fact that comprehension is potentially breaking down. Upon rereading, if he/she does not correct the error, once again, allow him/her to finish the sentence or paragraph, then stop him/her and say, "Excuse me, but something still did not make sense. Let's go back and reread together."
- As you listen, pay attention to the text. After the end of a chapter, discuss the events using the Somebody-wanted-but-so strategy and any other observations regarding the characters, plot, etc.
- When reading nonfiction, before starting a text, have your reader make statements about the topic: "About (fill in the title), I think I know..." Then encourage him/her to skim and scan the Table of Contents to make predictions. "In (fill in the title of the section), I think I will learn...because..."
- Check in with your child's teacher(s) if you have any questions or concerns.
- Here is the link to Scholastic Book Wizard, where you can find your most books' reading levels (make sure you have chosen Guided Reading Level (A-Z))