Do I listen to 8 year old or let her read quietly for summer homework?
July 6, 2012 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Should I let my 8 year old read out loud to me for summer reading comprehension?

We are doing reading comprehension this summer from small booklets that come from the learning post. The stories are not long, maybe a page or 2, and then have questions for her to answer. I want to hear her read so I can correct her. However, when she is in school, she cannot read aloud and maybe she needs to read in her head just like she will do at school. Is there anyone out there that has ideas about this?
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like this is something you're asking her to do, not something she feels she needs to do because she'd otherwise be unable.

I would worry less about the "aloud" thing than you being there to constantly correct her. I would say if there are three stories, have her read one story to you out loud then discuss the questions. The second story let her read to herself then work through the questions together. The third story let her do completely on her own.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 5:17 PM on July 6, 2012

My eight year old and I read out loud to each other all the time. Recently we've switched off chapters of The Hunger Games and Harriet The Spy. She read the Declaration of Independence out loud on Wednesday (the 4th of July) - both my husband and I piped in with pronunciation suggestions as needed but that was secondary to a discussion of content. Reading aloud is a fabulous way to share in the learning experience with your kid.
posted by tidecat at 5:18 PM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

I don't see how it can hurt. Have her read to you and correct her. Have her read by herself and answer the questions. Double win.

I had the opposite problem in school. I could read very fast on my own but when asked to read something to the class it caused me problems because my reading speed was faster than my talking speed. I think she'll be fine.

Actually why not just have her do her 'homework' first and then say "Oh, read me the story!" "Is that what happens?" etc. Just the fact that you are an interested parent will help her in the long run anyway. Good luck!
posted by bquarters at 5:19 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

All reading is good reading! Aloud, alone, whatever. Don't just correct, make her sound it out.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:23 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Let her read out loud for a couple stories. Then teach her how to use her "inside loud" voice. Make it a sort of game if you like by reading a sentence from one of booklets and, especially if there's dialogue, in different funny accents.

Practice saying something that sounds like it comes from My Fair Lady in your head....and then say it for real.
Sound out a sentence like a song in your head....and out loud.
A rap? A poem? How you think Dr. Suess would sound?

This could work, I think, for whole stories. Eventually you can transition to a normal voice. Work on enunciating words correctly and clearly (sounding out words slowly to get a grasp on their Greek or Latin roots can also be fun but a different angle to your lesson).
Practice saying the story loudly. If a character shouts, shout! If a character whispers, whisper! If a character is triumphant, raise a fist proudly! Make it into theater.
posted by DisreputableDog at 5:23 PM on July 6, 2012

I'm assuming, btw, from the wording of your question that your kid has difficulty reading out loud, stage fright, what have you.
posted by DisreputableDog at 5:25 PM on July 6, 2012

I don't have a citation but I was told by a reading specialist, that it is best to help a child if they are stumbling with a word but don't stop them if they make a mistake as long as they understand what they are reading. (Building fluency is a big help to comprehension - if they have to work too hard on every word, they lose sight of what it says.)
posted by metahawk at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

ps. This assumes that reading out loud is fun for both you. Fun first when it comes to reading - that's the big secret to creating good readers - they think reading is something you do for fun.
posted by metahawk at 5:28 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Let her read them however she likes. The fastest way to make a kid hate reading is to force them to do it a particular way.

If you're worried that she's going to only be able to read out loud, that's just ridiculous. At worst, it'll be something she grows out of.

Theory: if you're asking her to read these things, and she's asking if she can read them out loud to you, maybe that's her way of saying that she'd like to be spending more time with you. Reading is pretty solitary; maybe she gets lonely.
posted by phunniemee at 5:45 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

My son's teacher last year actually gave a weekly homework assignment that asked the kids to read a passage out loud to their parents. And I was glad that she did it. Reading out loud well is a really important skill. Think of all the times professionals need to do it: teachers read books to their classes; businesspeople read presentations; doctors read medication instructions to patients; TV and radio reporters read news reports, etc., etc. And it's harder than people think! I know a few adults who struggle to read out loud even though they are excellent silent readers.

When my son was doing his out-loud reading assignments, I tried not to interrupt him too much, let him give a word a few tries before I helped him with it, and offered corrections gently during natural pauses or at the end.
posted by BlueJae at 5:48 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would have hated this and rebelled as hard as I could, because like bquarters, I read faster than I talk and it's really, doubly hard for me to translate text to speech. Add in some stage fright, and you have a nightmare. (I hate reading out loud now, and I-m a 5+ novel a week reader.)

But hey, some people really prefer reading out loud, so it might be worth a shot - just be open to the possibility that this may make things unnecessarily hard, and be ready to try different things.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:49 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Reading aloud is essential for developing fluency as a reader. I'd say go for it!!!
posted by Hello Darling at 6:25 PM on July 6, 2012

Former K-1-2 literacy teacher. Let her read out loud if she enjoys it. Reading aloud is a very helpful precursor to reading in one's head and will certainly not hurt comprehension. I agree that you should not offer quick corrections unless there is a struggle, and that if there is a struggle, you should pause, take a look together, and go through the diagnostic process step by step, sounding out words exaggeratedly or re-reading slowly.

I'm wondering about the choice of reading material. Is it interesting to her? Fun to read? Does she like the content? Sometimes these presumably didactic materials are so dead and dry that they create no internal motivation to read. It's a common problem with delayed readers that they've simply never encountered interesting enough material to do the hard work of deciphering and comprehending the written word. If you are sure you want to be using this kind of material, please plan to sprinkle in some fun and funny and interesting early-reader books with characters and plot - even if the two of you take turns reading instead of having her do all the reading. Kids need to get the mechanics, but they also need to understand why the hell anyone would bother to read in the first place - something these prefab sets rarely demonstrate.
posted by Miko at 6:54 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Reading aloud has a number of benefits. But for reading comprehension, you need to be checking to see if she's understanding what she is reading. The questions sound great. You can add your own.

Do you have any sense what reading level she is currently on? Has her teachers mentioned any specific problems?
posted by quodlibet at 7:11 PM on July 6, 2012

I'm getting the sense that this is not a summer homework assignment that her school has given her, but rather an assignment you've made up and are making her do. My advice would be to chill out and not do that. (If I'm wrong and this is a school assignment, you should do it the way the school says.)

At her age, the most important thing is for her to learn to love reading. If she loves to read, everything else will fall into place as she grows up. So, especially over the summer, she should read in whatever manner is most enjoyable to her. That means that if she prefers to read out loud, she should do that. If she wants to read by herself, she should do that. If she prefers not to be corrected, you should not correct her. If she prefers to read something other than your booklets and she doesn't want to answer reading comprehension questions, she should read what she likes in the way she likes. Reading educational stories and answering questions about them is a recipe for believing that reading is a boring chore. Reading should be a magical, fun thing, and the way to make it so is to let her discover how awesome it is in the ways that most appeal to her.

Go to the library and tell her to pick out 10 books she likes. Ask the librarian for help if she doesn't know what she wants to read. Make sure she has a comfortable, cozy place to read. Maybe institute family reading time, where everyone snuggles up together with their books for an hour in the evenings before bed. Ask her to tell you what she likes about what she's reading, and tell her what you like about what you're reading. Give her permission to abandon a book after a few chapters if it's not as cool as she thought it would be, so that she can move on to something better. But mostly, encourage her to read what she loves and love what she reads. That's the best possible thing you can do to foster her education.
posted by decathecting at 7:37 AM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

My advice would be to chill out and not do that.

I heartily endorse decathecting's view. Constant reading is really important, but targeted literacy instruction by someone without training can be every bit as damaging, if not more in the long-term, than not reading at all. Read as a family, read together, read alone, read separately, read aloud, read quietly, talk about your reading. This more than anything will create a more confident and more fluent reader. Hard skills can be worked on in school, but you can't be sure to teach a love of reading through the kids of commercial, packaged didactic materials marketed to parents for this purpose.
posted by Miko at 8:08 AM on July 7, 2012 this the site you ordered from? Right off the bat, the grammatical and style errors on the front page of the site would concern me that they aren't in a position to be teaching literacy. But I see that they are more of a pass-through for other publishers of lesson plans and workbooks, so any evaluation of the materials really needs to be based on the materials themselves. However, when I was a teacher, I saw very few "home learning systems" that really were in line with good pedagogy, and most were miserably dull.
posted by Miko at 8:12 AM on July 7, 2012

You might trade off reading: you read a little story and you talk about it, then she reads the homework story and you talk about it.
Please please please be careful about correcting her as she reads - you could set up a complex if she feels overly criticized.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:12 AM on July 7, 2012

As a long-standing reading teacher, I have found that *one-to-one* reading aloud is a great learning experience, even for kids who have trouble. The best way, IMO, is to do it round-robin together, each person reads a paragraph. This way, there is more back and forth, she gets to listen to you do it correctly, with inflections and everything. The learning that way is quicker. Also, reading aloud is tiring, so switching makes it less so. Even if this is an exercise and she's reluctant to do it, having it be a together thing, low stress, can be a good bonding experience. It's *almost* like being read to, and I have yet to find a kid who doesn't like being read to.

The main thing about correction is not to jump the gun or do it too often. If you read along with her carefully, you'll be able to anticipate when she's going to have trouble. Let her start the word, try to sound it out and then help her quietly when she's stuck. Don't wait too long so that the struggle becomes embarrassing, and don't be too quick so that she feels thwarted. Don't be critical or say things like, "Come on, you know that word." Just correct as needed. If a child has many many difficulties, I am slightly more sparing. Sometimes, when a sentence is garbled, I'll have the child read it again after correction.

One important rule: try to do this without witnesses. Reading aloud is hard for many kids, and they feel very much on display. If another child is there to listen, make it a rule that only you may correct her.

Also, it's especially fun if you do this with a book she *really* wants to read but is a little too difficult for her. That way it's less troubling when she makes a mistake--the book is *supposed to be* hard, after all.
posted by RedEmma at 9:46 AM on July 7, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all your comments.

My daughter's teacher told me I should practice reading comprehension with her but was not specific about how. Normally, she and I read out loud to each other and then we talk about what happened.

She reads very well, about one grade higher, right now she will go into third grade but reads about a 4th grade level. However, when it came time for testing............she struggled with reading comprehension. This would be, in school, a test that had a page or two of a story and then questions. The teacher said I should practice comprehension due to this testing. By the way, her reading is done at school with a program called Lead 21.

She has tourettes syndrome with ADD that is associated to that. So practicing something that will be similar to what she sees on a test is always helpful to her. That is why I got the reading comprehension booklets. However, it sounds to me from what you all said, that I should just keep reading with her with our regular books. Right now we are reading Road Dahl books.

Thanks for all your help.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 11:37 AM on July 7, 2012

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