Parents often ask me how they can help their children become better readers. Most parents already know about the importance of reading to and with their children and are thrilled to do so for both the bonding it provides between parent and child and for the research-proven benefits of helping children hear examples of proper inflection, intonation, expression and overall fluency. Many parents are often enlightened to discover that equally important are their conversations with their children before, during, and after reading a piece of text.
On the first day of school, I tell my students that the hardest thing I am going to ask them to do during the year is to THINK. I don’t want them to repeat my words or recite from a textbook, but rather to give me mindful answers that they have thought about. I often start the day with a “Question of the Day.” Some examples are: Why are most barns painted red? Why do dalmatians have spots? What is your favorite day of the week? I am never disappointed with their answers. Actually, my students often think of things I didn’t, and I find great joy in sharing their responses with parents and my colleagues.