As teachers, we all know that the magic to improving our ability to read is simply to read more. Our wish for every student is that they fall in love with reading and read at home as much as possible. We know that there is no factual evidence that proves that homework, other than reading, shows evidence towards mastery. So let’s just let them read! And if we want them to read at home, we need to give support to our parents and give them the best tips and ideas on how to make reading engaging and purposeful in their homes. Today, we’re going to chat about 5 unique ways for helping parents with reading comprehension in their own homes.
Idea #1: Send Home Books
Yes, it’s that simple. We cannot assume that our students have access to books at home. We cannot assume that even if they have books at home that those are books they are interested in. It is imperative in our job that we are relentlessly book matching and sending home books with students. And if you’re like almost every other teacher in this country, you have worked hard to build your classroom library from scratch. And even with your own money.
I get it. I’ve been there. I didn’t want to send home my precious books and lose them. But think about it this way. By not sending home our books, we are saying that the $12 we spent on the book is more valuable than the growth and love of reading our student may receive by taking the book home. I would be fine losing books left and right if it meant my students are happy and reading. And not just reading, but falling in LOVE with reading! So what are you waiting for? The best way to help parents at home is to ensure that every student in your class is coming home with books.
Idea #2: Fun Reading Challenges
Sometimes a simple motivator is what parents need to help get their students to read more at home. One way to do that is to send home some fun at home reading challenges! They are super easy to create or there are plenty you can find online! I have a fun Fall Break challenge or an at-home challenge that are both free and great to share with parents!
Let your parents know that it’s okay to motivate your child to read in external ways. Many students have to read a lot in order to fall in love with reading. They have to find the right books for them and until they have read through the books they don’t like, they won’t find the ones they do. By creating and sending home these fun and simple reading challenges, your parents can put the motivation on reading and on a fun small reward.
Idea #3: Provide Resources
It’s sometimes hard to remember that we went to school for 4 extra years to become a teacher. Some things come so naturally to us, like knowing how to help students when they are reading. But with parents, they didn’t have that schooling. Something as simple as listening to their child read and knowing what to do to help them can become very frustrating. It’s important to take time and provide resources to parents to give them the support that they need.
I have put together a 20+ page parent guide that will help your parents understand their role when it comes to reading at home with their child. Inside the guide, you’ll find a letter to the parents, information about what truly impacts reading comprehension and some other great tools and resources that the parents can use at home to help their child. I highly encourage you to download the guide and print it off for your families as a way to reach out a hand and let them know there’s much they can do to help their student with reading.
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Idea #4: Be Transparent
Something that I have learned from the parent side of the school is teachers need to be transparent with their students’ families. What I mean by this is parents need to know how their child is doing in regards to reading. The more we can communicate the student’s strengths and areas of concern the better understanding the parents will be in knowing how to help their child at home.
Take it from a parent who has very little communication with their child’s teachers and information. Even being a teacher, and a parent who reads with their children daily, I don’t have a concrete idea of what they each need help with when it comes to comprehension. If I had more guidance, information, or transparency from my children’s teachers, I’d be better equipped to help them. So if it’s difficult for me, it has to be difficult for the parents. Make sure you’re sending home weekly/bi-weekly updates on what the students are working on. When you see an area that needs help – communicate that with the parents. Give them ideas on how they can help in that area simply when listening to their child read. It doesn’t have to be anything more than a quick email, but that email can truly make a difference.
Idea #5: Model Reading Aloud
One important reminder for all parents, especially parents of older grades, is that it is still okay to read aloud to your children. Students of all ages and grades benefit from hearing a fluent reader read aloud. One fantastic idea that I like to implement each year with my families is modeling HOW to read aloud with your child. You can do this one of two ways. One way I have done this is by having a special reading night (or you can do it during your back to school night) and at the event, I model a read aloud. If you can’t squeeze it in during an event, creating a video does the trick as well!
So what exactly are you modeling? Model how to book talk before beginning the read aloud. You can model how to stop and ask questions while reading. Model how to come across words that are unfamiliar and figure them out. You can model how to do specific strategies such as visualize, ask questions, and make predictions. The most important piece is to model THINKING!
I hope you found a new idea or two for helping parents at home! Make sure to hop back up and grab the FREE parent strategy guidebook if you haven’t done so already! Want to save this post for later? Make sure to pin the image below!