Most parents hit a point in raising their children when teaching to read becomes a priority. Reading opens up a person to a world of knowledge, imagination, and possibility, after all. But beyond phonics and sight words, sounding it out and piecing it together, reading is a skill everyone can improve upon.
A good reader is functionally literate, which means you can understand complex issues, new information, and abstract ideas after reading about them.
Readers understand what they read if they already have a foundation of knowledge on the subject matter. Therefore, early education should spend less time on the mechanics of reading and more time on general information in areas like history and science.
At Self Development Academy, we take this integrated approach. Teaching to read (in the earliest grades) and teaching to read well (every grade) is a focus in all of our classes – from language arts to mathematics.
As parents, you can help develop young reading minds in your children in several ways:
Be intentional about content.
On your next trip to the library or the bookshelf, help your student venture out past old favorites into areas of non-fiction, biographies, or history. Help your student find a book that he or she is both interested in and uninformed on.
Consider non-reading activities as literacy bonuses.
Visiting museums, watching historical programs on TV, and listening to audio books or podcasts will expand minds and continue to build a larger foundation of knowledge, which will strengthen reading comprehension now and in the future.
Focus on the mind, not the letters.
Can your student correctly sound out antidisestablishmentarianism? Great. Does he know what it means and can he use it in a sentence? Even better. Do the words that he reads inform him, help him to make thoughtful opinions, and contribute to the way that he sees the world and interacts in it? These are the questions that get to the heart of reading, more than any grade, standardized test, or impressive vocabulary word.
Set an example.
As adults, we often don’t read beyond what’s required with our jobs or daily lives. Even reading for pleasure might be limited to a bestseller or magazine hastily bought at the airport before a long flight. Find ways to expand your own reading material by putting down your phone, choosing a book in a style or subject matter new to you, and make time to read.
At Self Development Academy, we align our curriculum to standards set by the Arizona Department of Education, and then we go a few steps further. Our rigorous and accelerated curriculum is captivating and challenging. If you are looking for an excellent charter school for your children’s education, contact us. Self Development Academy is recognized as one of the best K-8 charter schools nationwide. We have several campuses in Arizona: Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa and Glendale. Find email and phone numbers here. We can’t wait to hear from you!