Thursday, November 8, 2012

Parents can help drive the Common Core Standards

There is a two-fold challenge with the adoption of the Common Core standards by most states. First, how do teachers best prepare themselves to achieve the goals of the Common Core English Language Arts Standards.  The second challenge is to take advantage of this opportunity to educate parents on what they can do in the home that supports their child’s work in the classroom. A strong partnership between school and home help children achieve academic success.

Conversational Reading (CR), reading and talking about a story, is a practice that correlates with the implementation of the Common Core English Language Arts Literacy State Standards.

Conversational Reading is a reading strategy that builds strong literacy skills by showing children how to get more from the books they read.  Conversational Reading (CR) encourages children to read for meaning and shows them how to better understand a story through conversation. Strong comprehension skills are the foundation for children becoming proficient and confident readers.

Parents and caregivers also can practice Conversational Reading (CR) in the home by making it a routine to read aloud and to build in the habit of talking about the story as well. The benefits of CR show that the most important outcome is not how many books children read but how many conversations they have about the books they read.

The following is a brief summary of the strategies behind CR.
~ There are 3 steps to Conversational Reading:
Read a book. Ask a question. Start a conversation.

~ Many of the benefits of the read aloud are lost if there is not the habit of talking to children about the story. Being read to does not automatically lead to literacy. The real link lies in the verbal interaction that takes place alongside the read aloud.

~ Many of the skills children need to get ready to learn to read are first learned in conversation.

~ Conversational reading models asking good questions—questions that takes you someplace in your thinking. Learning how to ask good questions is the basis of learning because it actually determines the quality of our thinking.

~ The purpose of asking questions about the story is to engage the child in the story and ensure they fully understand the story.

~ Conversational reading helps children become more patient and thoughtful readers.

~ Reading to children in a family’s first language is enormously beneficial. Studies have shown that children with strong first language proficiency are more likely to develop greater English proficiency.

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