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How important reading is for your child in school?
Mrs. Bilal (Jeddah)

It stimulates the imagination, nourishes emotional growth, builds verbal skills, and influences analyzing and thinking. In fact, according to every teacher I spoke to, reading to or with your child every day is the single most important thing you can do — at every grade level, from kindergarten through fifth. But you shouldn't worry so much about how well your child is reading in any particular grade. Different children acquire reading skills at different ages and in different ways. And you can't force a child who's not ready to start reading.
Here are some reading milestones you should look for (from preschool to third grade) and specific tips on how to help.

From preschool through kindergarten

Your child enjoys looking at books and being read to, but doesn't realize that the print — not the pictures or the reader — tells the story.

How to help:

  • Have your child dictate stories or letters to you. Write them down exactly as he says them, and read them back to him, pointing to the words as you read.
  • Talk about the sounds different letters make
  • Read lots of short, simple books aloud, including alphabet books
  • Give alphabet puzzles, alphabet blocks, and books to your child for birthday gifts and other special occasions.
  • Point to words as you read books, lists, labels, cards, signs, and even cereal boxes to your child.
  • Let him finish a familiar sentence in a book, or say a word that's frequently repeated in a story every time you point to it (as in "Go, Dog. Go" or "Green Eggs and Ham").
  • Tape word labels (such as "door," "chair," or "bed") on different objects around the house, or in your child's room.

From kindergarten through first grade


Your child realizes that individual printed words represent individual spoken words and begins to recognize and read a few — such as dog, car, and no, plus his own name.

How to help:

  • Encourage your child to point to words as he "reads" a book.
  • Teach him how to spell and write familiar words and names.
  • Play word-related games (as in: "I'm going to eat something on this table that begins with the letter B. Can you guess what it is?" or "Let's say all the words we can think of that start with the letter T").
  • Read a new book aloud several times before encouraging your child to tackle it on his own.
  • If your child misses a lot of words while reading, and starts acting frustrated, offer to take over the reading, or choose an easier book. Never force your child to read a book that's too hard just because his friends can read it, or his sister could when she was his age.
  • Help your child write and read his own stories and books

From first grade through third

Your child begins to read short, illustrated books on her own, for enjoyment.

How to help:

  • Make frequent trips to the local library, and encourage your child to pick out her own books.
  • Play games that involve reading skills (for example, have a treasure hunt and place written clues around the house; play Junior Scrabble and other age-appropriate board games).
  • Limit TV, computer, and video-game time, and encourage your child to read instead — even it's only his baseball cards or some comic books.
  • Explain complex words and sentences; help with pronunciations
  • Show how much you value reading by doing a lot of it yourself
  • Talk about the books or magazine articles you're reading and enjoying.

From third grade through fifth

Your child can read independently, and enjoys reading a variety of books

How to help:

  • Make sure there are lots of different kinds of reading materials geared to his interests around the house (for instance, a kids sports magazine, or books on the sports or other activities he loves).
  • Treat your child like a reading expert, no matter what kinds of books she loves to read. If she's a horror story addict, for instance, say: "You've been reading a lot of those horror story books. Which one do you think is best? Why?"
  • Make sure your child has some free time every day when he can curl up in a chair and read.
  • Keep reading aloud to your child (to strengthen his vocabulary, comprehension, and listening skills, as well as his enjoyment of reading)

Credit : scholastic

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