March Literacy Madness: 5 Steps to Picking the Perfect Book
by: Sarah Sitzmann, M.A., CCC-SLP
Literacy is an important skill that directly impacts academic and social success. Being able to read is key for success in almost all areas of life.
Since March is Literacy Awareness Month, I put together a list of steps to help you find the perfect book for your child to practice literacy skills.
Here are the steps to finding the perfect book for your child!
Step # 1
Find out what reading level system is used at your child’s school.
Familiarize yourself with the reading level system used at your child’s school so that you know what your child’s scores mean.
Many schools use the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) or Fountas and Pinnell (AKA Guided Reading) level system. The chart below shows what level your child is expected to be reading at according to grade. This may vary slightly from school district to school district.
Check out Sonia Culver’s blog for more detailed information about reading level systems and questions to ask at parent teacher conferences.
Step # 2
Find out your child’s current skill level for reading accuracy, rate, fluency, and comprehension.
What are accuracy, rate, fluency and comprehension?
Reading accuracy: a child’s ability to pronounce each word in the story correctly.
Reading rate: the amount of time a student takes to read a story.
Reading fluency: a combination of a student’s reading accuracy and rate.
Reading comprehension: a student’s ability to understand concepts such as details, main ideas and inferences within the passage they have read.
Check out Megan Hughes blog for more detailed information about these reading skills.
Step # 3
Choose a book that is at your child’s reading comprehension level, not necessarily their expected grade level.
In order to find a book that you child will understand and enjoy, it is best to choose a book based on his/her reading comprehension level. Without good reading comprehension, books are just words with no meaning. This makes it pretty hard to enjoy reading. What’s the point in reading if you can’t understand what you’re reading? Comprehension is one of the most important aspects of reading but is often overlooked.
Keep in mind that in kindergarten through second grade students are learning to read, then in third grade and beyond they are reading to learn. So, if your child is behind in reading in third grade, it is very likely that he/she may start to fall behind in other areas. Without intervention, this trend will continue as your child progresses through elementary school and into higher-level education.
Step # 4
Think about what interests your child, or what events are going on in the world right now that they may be learning about.
Choose books that fit your child’s interests as well as what’s happening in the world right now. I often chose books to read with students based on the season or a specific holiday. For example, the Olympics are relevant right now because they are starting this month. Picking books with connections to daily life makes reading much more interesting!
The scholastic website has a great resource for parents to help their child find a book they are looking for. Simply click the book list —> grade level—> genre or theme your child is interested in.
Find ways to discuss or expand on the ideas in the book.
Kid’s learn best when they hear, see, and experience topics in multiple ways. Try drawing pictures related to the story, watching a movie or documentary that goes along with the topic, or discussing WH questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why) about the book. The more kids learn about a topic, the more they will care!
What if my child seems to be struggling in reading fluency and/or comprehension?
Early intervention is KEY! Regardless of age or grade level, seeking additional help for pre-literacy and literacy skills is critical for academic and social success.
It is important to be aware of your child’s reading level because, if caught early, a reading delay or impairment can be addressed through specialized reading instruction. If a child is struggling, and continues to struggle, they may become less confident and find reading a chore rather than a fun experience.
At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center we can help build those foundational skills, get your child to achieve at or above grade level putting them on a path to academic success.
Call today for a free screening!
Sarah Sitzmann is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
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North Liberty, IA 52317
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Urbandale, IA 50322