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Parents need to be educated

February 21, 2013
Karen Twitchell - King Kamehameha III School , The Maui Weekly

You do not need a college education to be a good parent. What you need are tools to help your child succeed in school! Teachers can help. In a recent conversation with another teacher I told him my main goal as a teacher was to teach my students to read. My opinion is that if you can read, you can learn anything.

There are books and Internet sites that will teach you anything you want to know, but if you can't read themwell? So here are some suggestions for parents of children who are struggling with reading. Reading fluency is very important. Young children need to recognize words that they will see over and over again. These are called sight words. You can look up sight words for your child's age group on the Internet or ask his/her teacher.

Your child is expected to read a certain amount of words at his/her grade level. These, too, can be found on the Internet, or ask the teacher. Spend just a minute or two having your child read aloud to you at home. A lot of children love to be timed when they read. We do this at school. So, when your child brings home reading homework or is reading a book of their choice, take a minute or two to time them. Jot down the time, and then the next day have them read the same passage again. Keep track of their time and reward them for advancing. Rewards can be simple--a dime a day to reach a dollar they can spend; a sticker a day, and ten stickers earns them their choice of dessert.

This is very important; students must understand what they are reading. All too often, we test students who are low in fluency. We give them five paragraphs to read, and when they are done, they don't remember what they read in the first paragraph. To help them--again only taking ten minutes of your time--ask them to read a paragraph or page, and then ask them questions about what they just read. Who is the main character, what is the setting, the problem, the solution, etc?

Teachers have your child for about six hours a day. That leaves about 18 hours a day for you to be responsible for their learning. Do you have 15 minutes a day to help your child read? Turn off the TV and leave the dishes until later. Sit down and read with your child. You can make a difference!

Karen Twitchell

King Kamehameha III School



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