This article originally appeared on February 13, 2012
Again, your son’s classroom teacher has probably assessed his reading level and if so, now’s the right time to talk to her about where your son is most comfortable reading independently. Here’s a basic breakdown of different reading levels your son may have been assessed on:
Highly-qualified teachers with current multiple-subject credentials in California have most likely been trained to assess your child in the elementary grades by conducting a variety of assessments. Your best bet would be to have a conversation with his teacher to find out his reading levels; they will range in grade levels and months in the year. If you have some of this vocabulary in mind it will make for a fruitful conversation with his teacher. Once you know his grade levels, you can help to make sure the books he reads are indeed appropriate for him as a growing and changing reader.
One reason I loved reading as a child is that I used to watch my father read his racing magazines in the living room each evening as we waited to eat dinner. When he got home from work, he chose to catch up on some reading to unwind from his day. Another reason I loved reading was because my mom made the time to read books to me at bedtime--books like “Little Women.” “Black Beauty,” and the “Little House on the Prairie” series.
Reading was considered a worthwhile use of time in our household and that has translated to my interest in reading as an adult. Therefore, it is important that you make reading a priority in your household as well. In the classroom, we are trained to model good reading habits in order for our students to pick up on them. When the students have free reading time, so do the teachers. The classroom is alive with reading and we talk about our books as well as review them with each other. If your child isn’t getting that at school, make sure to offer it at home. Children will mimic their parents---you might as well set them up for success.
There are so many components to consider about your child as a reader. You cannot successfully do that without involving his teacher and any other support staff on campus. While the ideas above offer a starting point for the conversation, you may need to elicit some professional help if your child continues to struggle with reading comprehension. Again, this is where your school and classroom teacher can step in to help. Additionally, you need to get involved with your child’s choices and show him that you are invested in this part of his learning. Finally, make a point to show him that you value reading because that communicates more to him than any words you say. Becoming or staying a reader yourself will inspire him to see the value in reading over and over again.