Learning to read and write are critically important goals for all children. Some children achieve these goals with little difficulty and progress rapidly in school. Other children struggle with reading and writing throughout their school years. Getting behind in reading triggers many well-intended but often negative events. Children are often sent out of the classroom for a special reading class. These children who get 30 minutes of “extra” reading instruction outside the classroom rarely catch up with their friends in the classroom. Part of the problem is that the “extra” instruction provided these children is not really extra since the children are missing 30 minutes of the instruction that happens in their classroom. A deeper, more lasting issue for most children is the message they get about themselves as readers. The daily walk down the hall to the special reading room is proof positive that they are not succeeding in reading—and thus in school.
Not progressing in reading is the major reason children are retained in the early grades. Most children who are “held back” and repeat a grade do not become good readers the next year and being retained further convinces children that they are not good readers. Children who are retained usually think of themselves as “dumb” and this is often reinforced by other children who tease them about having to “stay back.”
The chapters in this book will help you decide which level of text your child should begin with to make the most rapid progress in reading. Children who are not yet reading and children learning English probably need to begin with the Level 1 texts in BeginningReads. Older children usually have some reading ability and don’t need to read the easiest texts. Chapter Three will show you how to determine which level of BeginningReads texts your child should begin with. Chapter Four contains sample lessons for Set Four of BeginningReads. In this chapter, you will see how you can use the BeginningReads to teach sight words, phonics and comprehension strategies.
Older children who can read the highest level of BeginningReads texts but who struggle with reading often have difficulty understanding and remembering what they read. You can use the FYI for Kids one-page magazine articles to teach your child how to comprehend and summarize informational text and to increase the number of words they can recognize and have meaning for. Some struggling readers can read and comprehend short texts but not longer texts, especially chapter books. Talking Points for Kids, and SummerReads are longer texts which will help your child develop reading stamina. In Chapter Five, you will find sample texts and instruction for FYI for Kids, Talking Points for Kids, and SummerReads. Texts and suggestions for instruction for all BeginningReads, FYI for Kids, Talking Points for Kids, and SummerReads can be found on the website—textproject.org.