Message from Head of School
by Rabbi Samuel J. Levine
Schools teach children how to read; parents can partner with the school to help children become readers. It is important for parents to be active participants in helping their children become literate adults. Parents can create a literacy rich environment that helps children become enthusiastic, lifelong readers. Research shows that children who grow up in homes where reading is valued do better in school.
There are a number of concrete steps that parents can take to create an environment that fosters positive attitudes when it comes to reading. They include:
- Set aside specific times to read with your child. These times should be sacrosanct and nothing should be allowed to intrude on this special reading time. Even fifteen minutes a day can suffice.
- Make sure that the reading material that your child reads at home is level appropriate. If the reading level is too challenging, children may be turned off to reading.
- Be encouraging and be patient. Correcting every word is also a potential turn off. If you are not sure about your child’s reading level consult with your teacher or the librarian.
- For young children, bedtime is an excellent time for reading time. Parents can cuddle with children as they read. Such moments show children that you care and help make connections that children will treasure for a lifetime.
- Read to your child. Even adults enjoy being read to.
- Let your children see you read. As a reading role model, you have tremendous influence over your children’s attitudes. Hectic schedules may impede our ability to read on a daily basis, but children need to see their parents read if they are to take, seriously, their parents statements about the importance of reading.
- Make reading part of your ordinary daily activities. While riding in the car, ask children to read signs and billboards. Around the house, children can read recipes and food labels. Opportunities for reading abound.
- Ask questions that encourage higher level thinking and test comprehension. How does the character feel and what would you do in a similar situation, are examples of such questions.
- Create a family library that has appropriate reading materials for all the age groups represented in your family.
The ability to read well builds self confidence and is the gateway to success in all aspects of life. With proper support and with home and school working in close partnership, all students can become enthusiastic, lifelong readers.
See article about our upcoming Book Fair.