Digging Deeper into Reading!

By Monica O’Donnell

Reading with your child does not have to be like pulling weeds.

Reading with your child can be and should be enjoyable all around.

The more you and your child can interact with the text, the more your child will be a cultivated reader.

  1. Read in chunks. Break it down either by paragraphs, pages, or chapters, depending on the sophistication of your reader. Depending on the assignment, whether it be comprehension questions or some type of literary analysis, you and your reader may want to read it first to grasp the gist and then again to unearth The Good Stuff.
  1. What is The Good Stuff you might ask? The Good Stuff qualifies as any and all literary devices you discover in the text. Try to expose The Good Stuff by reading with a careful eye.

Authors add literary devices on purpose, so get out that spade and sift it out.

Here are five to learn to impress your reader:

  • similes – comparison between two things using like or as
  • metaphors – comparison between two things without using like or as
  • alliteration – several words in a row that begin with the same letter
  • hyphenated modifiers – words grouped together with hyphens to describe a noun
  • personification – an inanimate object with humanlike characteristics

So, once you searched out these common literary devices, ask your reader,

“Why do you think the author included this, or wrote the sentence this way?”

When you ask your reader about author’s purpose, you are really delving into The Good Stuff.

1.  Now, let me show you how to dibble into something else. Let’s get the scoop on the characters.

Using the main characters, draw a hand on a piece of paper, writing the main character on the palm of the hand. On each finger, write the:

  • character’s motivation throughout the story
  • conflict experienced throughout the story by the character
  • character’s relationships with other characters
  • character’s point of view
  • changes the character undergoes

2.  Turn your reader into a thinker. Model this, by telling your reader some of your own think-alouds while reading. “You know son that reminds me of when your grandpa came home from the war and faced his own injustices.”

Here are some think aloud statements to move your reader.

  • “That reminds me of when…”
  • “I noticed that when…”
  • “I think it is sad when…”
  • “I love it when…”
  • “That character reminds me of…”
  • “This story reminds me of…”

3.  Look for the theme in the text. What lesson or moral is being taught? As you conclude reading, ask your reader what they think the message of the story is and why they think that. Ask for text to support their ideas and even better, have them turn through the pages and show you. Help them develop a truism to remember the theme. A truism in literature is an universal truth that is discovered and can be applied to almost everyone.

Start with,

“When                  action                     it is important to remember that sometimes,                     outcome                      .”

Make sure you do not mention a character’s name or the specific conflict experienced in the story.

For example, “When traveling outside your comfort zone, it is important to remember to trust your instincts and be yourself.”

Name the story…

Need a hint?

(Dorothy Gale)

And the answer is, “The Wizard of Oz.”

4.  Understand the difference between a good summary and a tell-every-single-detail-that-happened-and-list-in-order summary. Try this short and sweet summary statement.

Somebody Wanted But So

Dorothy wanted to go home but faced challenges along the say so with the help of her friends, she finally made it home.

5.  As you rake through the reading, study the plot structure.

The basic plot map consists of five things:

  • Exposition – setting, characters, and conflict is introduced
  • Rising Action – the events leading up to the climax
  • Climax- the most exciting part in the story, also known as the turning point
  • Falling Action – the events leading up to the resolution
  • Resolution – conflict is resolved

Tending to your garden  is important, so remember to water, to encourage, and to support your reader.

  1. Make it a goal to read every night. Your reader should have a nice place to read and relax. Your reader should see you read too. Change things up from time to time and make it fun.
  2. Find a genre that fits your reader. Not every reader enjoys fantasy or mysteries. Try them all until you find the one that entertains your reader.
  3. Keep a fun find word wall, where you store your favorite words, sentences, or character names.

Every week, family members can take turns sharing their fun finds.

Do not have your reader plow through the text and demand answers to basic comprehension questions.

Rather, leave no stone unturned, read together, cultivate your reader, prepare the soil, and watch your reader grow.

Keep an eye out for reading workshops throughout the year!  Links will be posted in your online school.

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