New concepts in education can confuse even well-educated parents of elementary students. When those concepts and their terminologies are incorporated into homework assignments, especially in the seemingly straightforward subject of reading, things can get a little dicey.
Parents of Jacquelyn Oster’s fifth grade class at West Salem Elementary met in the library for a “Reading Night for Parents” on Tuesday, December 7.
“A lot of the theory is that, as good readers, you don’t realize the things that you do to help yourself understand what you’re reading. So it’s basically this movement in literacy instruction to be more explicit with what good readers do,” she explained.
Methods include “Thinking Aloud,” where the teacher or parent pauses frequently to say aloud what they are thinking as they read, helping create mental images. “Visualizing” with the five senses as well as drawing comic book-like frames with the action of the story can also help.
Other strategies include guiding the student to process the story in different ways: by making text-to-self connections with the student’s personal experiences, connections with books and stories the student has read before, and making connections with events and news from the world around them.
“When they get to this point, in elementary school, it’s not as much when I’m listening to them read, it’s not as much [about] their fluency,” said Oster.
This way of looking at reading skills is “going deeper as you get into upper elementary to really help them get more complex comprehension skills. Skills that they can think back when they’re in middle school and beyond […] The theory is you should be able to apply these reading strategies to any book that you read at any level,” she said.