Updated: Dec 3, 2020
If we look at the elements of literacy, we see that decoding and spelling words, as well as phonemic awareness activities to reinforce the thinking skills of taking in the sounds and the letters is the first step to mastering the code of English.
It is also true that vocabulary and under understanding how words lace together to make meaning is critically important.
In planning a workable chunk of what parents can do to help their children with learning to break the code of English and understand what they hear and read, I would choose a few tasks to begin:
- Supply the parents with a list of reading books that are on their child’s instructional reading level.
- Have the parents read the books carefully with their children, perhaps trading off who reads, I read, you read a sentence or have the parents initially read the book to their child and focus on the meaning.
- Asking questions, stopping and starting, making pictures or notes together about a sentence or a paragraph is the way to begin.
Some questions might include:
What is happening in this sentence? What verbs or actions words are in this sentence?
Who or what is doing that action?
When is this taking place?
Where is this taking place?
Can you make a picture in your mind based on the words in this sentence and then tell me about it?
-I would also encourage the parents to pick one or two words on each page and ask their child what the words mean. Can they define them in their own words? Learnersdictionary.com is one of the best dictionaries for students because the definitions are given using plain English, simple yet accurate words. Parents can then ask their child to give a sentence with the word, to name another word that means the same thing or the opposite.
Keep It Simple, doing just these steps every day or a couple of times a week will be powerful. Readworks.org has daily passages that are already made up, graded and have questions to use for these purposes.