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Monday, July 27, 2020

One Way to make Reading Fun!

Allow Creativity and Self-expression
   As you know in my last post, I discovered major gaps between my child's reading grades and her actual reading level. We have been reading many different books on different platforms since my discovery.  She loves to read and surprisingly she loves to read to my bitmoji, Ms. Halle.  Our children teach us so many things  and my daughter did just that. She did something that stumped me in my tracks. My daughter is 5 years old and a half and she does what any typical 4/5 year old does. She is always playing and creating and that's ok because, she is learning. Whether its taking all the measuring cups out and filling them with water and pouring them out into other containers or cutting pieces and pieces of paper; she is still learning. We call it playful learning.  Well as I was saying, she did something that made me pause and say, "hmmm."

  One day, she took several pages from my printer, folded it, and made her own book. First, I thought what in the world? But then, it was just amazing because, I was able to see just how she thinks and what makes her tick.  She made up a title and she made up a story. Her story had characters, a beginning, a middle, and an end. She even drew her own illustrations but of course I helped her with the writing. But that's ok, because, it was all her own ideas and words. And guess what? She loved her book and read it out loud over and over again. I had to step back and process what just occurred and here's what I realized:

My daughter led her own instruction:

1. She had free-choice!

2. She created!

3. She wrote creatively through shared writing!

4. She was self-motivated to read!

     I realized; Isn't this what I have always wanted my students to do? Yes, and finally it happened with my own child. It's no mistake that many of us have had to homeschool our own children. I'm not saying go and make your child create a story. No! But what I am saying is this, do what you have been doing but pay careful attention to what your child creates because, of all the time and teaching you have been doing with them.  Even if what they create is not perfect, or may seem silly pay attention and give them the tools to build upon it. So if you notice they are always motivated to draw, then have paper, pens, crayons, and other writing tools available for them. If your child is like mine and likes to make little books, then have things you think they may need to support them.

Why is Creativity a Big Deal?
   Creativity is not only a higher order of thinking but the freest form of self-expression.  Children experience security in being able to be themselves openly and without judgement. When creativity is personal and self-motivated it can nurture your child's emotional health. This creativity in their early years is what solidifies a firm foundation of development.
  Children can be creative by being free to make their work their own. Don't you have a certain pride about owning something like a house. For example, for some home ownership is huge accomplishment. So is you child's creations. Your child's creations can help you learn more about what they are thinking or even feeling. New ideas, new ways of thinking, problem-solving and new experiences can also increase mental growth.  Self expression is also another way to address your child's uniqueness and diversity.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Your Child's Reading Level Matters!!!

   This year has been a crazy one but I'm still here and my child's reading levels matters.  My child's school district started a new curriculum and I was so excited about it because, this was my daughters first year in school. She loves her teacher and her school. Then COVID-19 happened and I, a teacher by profession was challenged to homeschool my own child. I really had to get to know my child academically and psychologically because, the truth is most of her day was at school with her teacher.

  So, my girl has done really well and at first I didn't have any concerns. Then COVID-19 happened and I realized that my daughter had some deficits in reading. Except the only thing is she looked good on paper in the area of reading. That's when I realized I really needed to find out her reading level. There are two main reasons why you should know your child's reading levels. First, it will build their confidence in reading and you the parent will be better equipped to help your child grow.

   Young children love one on one learning with their most favorite people in the world, their parents.   Knowing their reading level is key because, they will be reading text that is developmentally appropriate for them.  This means it won't be too hard nor too easy. Knowing their reading level gives them enough room to have victory and thrive at the same time.  Reading too far above their level will destroy their confidence and love for reading.  You don't have to tell them what level they are on necessarily. The level is for you the parent to know to help your child grow.

Knowledge is Power
    You have the power to help your child. You are not helpless or defeated. Ask questions and search for the answers you need to help your child.  Think about it, knowing your child's reading level will make reading a breeze especially when you go to the library or you want to purchase books at the book fair.  Keep in mind that you are building them academically but also emotionally.  I can tell you as a teacher that most of  my students loved their small group reading time. They get more of me and get to connect on a more personal level. That's where I hone in and build there confidence with praise, fun games, but most of all with books they can read mostly on their own.

How to Find your Childs Reading Level
   Below is a guide to help you find your child's reading level in 3 easy steps. I know you probably do not have leveled books at home but in the guide there is a link to plenty of free leveled books. Also, Reading A-Z is a great site to find leveled readers for your little one. It is not free but they do have a free 14-Day trial. This gives you a chance to explore the site to see if it's a good fit for your child.   It has printable pdf books sorted by level. Along with each book, there is practice worksheets that focus on comprehension, phonics, and writing.