Reading Tips for the Holidays Winter break is right around the corner, and holidays can get pretty hectic! Routines can fly out the window with celebrations, travel and out-of-town guests. As your family prepares for the holidays, use these tips for keeping kids engaged in learning and reading over winter break.
1. Read for fun! Whether your child is in the mood for holiday stories or the newest installment from a favorite series, winter break provides the perfect opportunity to set aside school books and read for fun. Make time for bedtime stories to create the routine and enjoy books on a daily basis.
2. Stock up on books at the local library. Help your child pick out books they’re interested in reading over the winter break. Libraries may also have fun, free holiday activities throughout the break.
3. Make the most of travel time. Turn travel time to or from a holiday get-together into an opportunity to practice reading. You can look for license plates from different states, try to find the alphabet on the license plates, or count the number of red (or white or green) cars you see. Read street signs and billboards you see along the way.
4. Create a new tradition. A little predictability is comforting for kids. Starting a special Winter Break Story Time can be a new tradition that links reading with happy memories. Hot cocoa and your favorite stories will have the whole family feeling comfy and cozy, while creating memories that will last a lifetime. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert to help your child with reading. By simply interacting with children around books, you can show them that books are important and worthy of our attention.
Last year we started administering a set of reading screening tests referred to as FAST. Three times a year students take tests to check for foundational reading skills, fluency, and reading comprehension. These tests give us a general idea of student reading ability and growth. When students do not pass these screening tests we do additional testing to determine exactly what students need to focus on in order to improve reading skills. They then receive explicit, targeted instruction on those skill areas with weekly monitoring of student progress. You will receive your child’s scores on these tests at conference time. If you should have any questions about these tests or your child’s scores, feel free to contact your child’s teacher.
How to Pick the Right Book for My Child
Not sure if you’re choosing the right level of book for your child to read? Use the “5 Finger Rule.” Choose a book that interests your child, then test it with the 5 Finger Rule. Have your child start reading any page in the book. Every time your child doesn’t know a word, put up one finger. If you put up 5 or more fingers before the end of the page, the book is too hard. If you put up 0-1 fingers before finishing the page, the book is too easy. Best fit books should have 2-3 unknown words when using the 5 Finger Rule.