Koreen Paterson is QWERTY’s licensed educational psychologist. She has written a 3-part series on reading with children, the second of which we present here. She writes from the perspective of not only being an LEP, but also from that of a mother who has made the decision to home school her children.
In choosing to home school my kids and help them learn to read, another important thing I learned is not to be concerned with the reading level of the books my children are reading. A friend posted the following NY Times article to her Facebook page:
It discusses how parents, eager to boost their children’s reading levels, push their kids to read only more and more advanced chapter books.
Now, as an educator, I can attest to the fact that many picture books that are designed for reading to children by adults have higher vocabulary and content than many chapter books. However, I used to wonder if I should say anything when my daughters would pick out books that are far below their reading level. We have a policy of letting the girls choose whatever books they want at the library. My oldest still sometimes chooses some early reader books. In the past, I sometimes had to bite my tongue and feign enthusiasm at these choices, which were “beneath her.” Fortunately, I remembered comments teachers had made to me about my reading books that were “too easy” for me, and withheld judgment. Just in the past year, I read a passage in The Core by Leigh Bortins, the founder of the Classical Conversations program my girls attend, that cemented for me why it was not only okay but actually beneficial for them to read below their instructional reading levels. It builds their fluency, confidence and reading speed. In fact, her statement that children should read independently below their reading level, be read with at their reading level and be read to above their reading level has become a cornerstone of reading instruction in our home.
What experiences have you had as you continue to read with/to your children?