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We must help our children develop good reading skills.

Each year, countless K-12 students are passed through the system with poor reading skills.  African American students tend to be over represented among the students who read below grade level, and on standardized tests, African American students are more likely to have lower reading scores than most of their non-African American grade-level peers.  Because reading is so important, parents should begin helping their children become good readers as early as possible.

The following information can help parents do this. The following resources and strategies can help parents do this.

Reading Strategies

  • Buy books for children and take your children to the public library to check out books on a regular basis.
  • Encourage children to check out books from the school library or classroom library on a regular basis.
  • Read to children daily.
  • Ask children to read to you on a regular basis. This can take place while you’re cooking dinner, doing the laundry, or some other household chore.
  • Encourage children to read to their younger brothers and sisters.
  • In order to ensure that children are understanding the reading material, ask them to tell you what the story is about.
  • If a child does not know a word in the story, ask him/her to look up the word in a dictionary and write the meaning on an index card.  The child can keep a box of index cards of new words and review them periodically.
  • Model reading to children by letting them see you read books and magazines for pleasure.
  • Remember that books are valuable gifts for birthdays and holidays.  Buying books will enable children to have a print-rich environment at home. Research has shown that children who grow up in print-rich environments have better reading skills than children who do not.
  • Make sure that your child is getting homework several nights a week.
  • Check your child’s homework.  If you can’t help him/her with the work, ask the teacher or principal to assign a peer tutor to help him/her.
Free or Low Cost Resources

  1. The Public Library: There is nothing like the smell of books and the discipline of sitting with others without disturbing them and enjoying a good book.  You should stay with your child because he or she benefits from your presence.
  2. Free magazines: There are free magazines on the racks at stores and businesses.  These magazines are designed to get the reader’s attention and are full of advertising but they still have articles that can be read by your child.  One activity would be to have your child look for something interesting in the magazines that may help the family.
  3. by Verizon is a website for educators and parents and it is free.
  4. Funbrain is for students under grade 5.
  5. Starfall is for Pre-K through Third grade.
  6. Writing Helps Reading Comprehension.  Here is a website that will help your child with writing ideas and the writing process.