One of the ways teachers, parents, and caregiver can facilitate a child’s love of reading is by modeling reading themselves. Though it’s not always easy to compete with iPads and other electronics, books still take up the majority of our space at home, and play a significant part in our daily routines. That said, “reading” needn’t be limited to books — nearly everything counts, whether it’s an online article (though again I try to shy away from this since there are so many distractions online!), a magazine, a comic book or graphic novel (yes, those count!), a recipe, a poem, a play, or a devotional. The newspaper, for example, can provide many opportunities to practice reading comprehension skills, as well as other language arts skills such as figuring out the topic sentence and important facts or events, inferring/drawing conclusions, etc. At home, with my 4th grade daughter, I will pre-read articles (to make sure it doesn’t contain anything age-inappropriate or too “scary”), and come up with some questions and new vocabulary or concepts that we can talk about (these can be written on an index card or post-it note and taped to the article). I encourage her to use the highlighter as much as she wants — to make note of new words or sentences she might not understand. After she reads the article, we talk about what’s on the index card, and If she seems particularly interested, we can do further research on the topic or have a more extensive discussion.
This “lesson” can be easily adapted to the school library. Students can be given copies of the article to read on their own, or the article can be projected on the screen and read together.
Here’s one example from today’s Times Free Press (Chattanooga’s local newspaper):
Read “Aquarium adding otters in bigger space” by Barry Courtier (Times Free Press, 9/18/13, B1)
As you read, think about:
- Why is the aquarium renovating and adding space to their existing otter exhibit?
- Why will the otters be separated by a wall at first?
- What will the new exhibit allow visitors to do?
- What sense will otters use to get to know each other?
- Other interesting facts you might have picked up from the article.
- How would you find out more information about otters or the Tennessee Aquarium?