READ for Success
A child who can read well is more likely to succeed in school and do well on standardized tests. Here are some reading skills that are important for test success and ways you can help at home:
Comprehension is more than just being able to recognize and pronounce words - it's about making sense of what the words say. Standardized tests often measure comprehension by asking students to find the main idea. To help your child find the main idea:
- Use the newspaper. Cut out a short article. Then cut off the headline. Ask your child to read the article and write a headline that summarizes the main idea. Compare your child's headline to the newspaper's headline.
- Use nonfiction. Nonfiction writing is about real people, places and things. Many standardized tests use nonfiction text for reading comprehension. So ask your librarian to help your child find interesting nonfiction books to read. Then ask your child to tell you the main idea of a paragraph or a chapter from a non-fiction book.
Reading rate is the speed at which a child reads. Since most standardized tests are timed, it's important for your child to have a good reading rate. Just remember, it doesn't help your child to read faster if your child doesn't also have good comprehension. Here's how you can help:
- Schedule reading time every day. Research shows that kids who read every day are more likely to read faster.
- Have your child read silently. Sometimes a child reads slowly because she is whispering the words aloud.
The more words your child knows, the more likely he is to do well on standardized tests. So help your child:
- Learn a new word every day. Find words in the books your child is reading or ask the teacher for a list. Each morning help your child write a new word on a file card. Write the definition on the back. At dinner have family members try using the word in a sentence. At the end of the week, review all the cards.
- Have a "newspaper scavenger hunt". Ask your child to underline new words in an article. Then look them up together.