Koreen Paterson is QWERTY’s licensed educational psychologist. She has written a 3-part series on reading with children, the final 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.
The third component of the reading trilogy in our home encompasses a technique that is used frequently in our work at QWERTY—reading responsively with students, alternating passages between the adult and the child. This is a very powerful tool in building students’ reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension and reinforces silent reading and skimming skills. It also allows the adult to monitor student’s decoding and oral reading abilities in a context that is non-threatening and fun. My girls really love doing this and even read books like “Joyful Noise” and “You Read to Me and I’ll Read to You” together for fun.
The other side of reading instruction at our house is phonics. As a psychologist assessing students for learning disabilities, I am aware that both phonics and sight vocabulary are essential to reading development. I used a home version of the SRA DISTAR program to teach both girls initially. Now, even as fluent readers, we still do a phonics program in conjunction with our spelling program, drawn from the WISE Guide to Spelling. The girls enjoy making up silly ways to remember phonograms and spontaneously ask if they “can write sentences and draw pictures” for their words. But, I suppose, writing instruction, especially for my oldest daughter, who is probably dysgraphic (read: fine motor and sensory integration weakness) like her mother and has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, is a topic for another day.
What experiences have you had as you continue to read with/to your children?