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Dear  Barb

I was fortunate enough to work in a system where we had very strong parent support 
for listening to reading in almost every school - in fact community participation 
like this was almost mandated from "on high".  In my last school. to help parents 
not only know what to do but to ensure consistency from all so the children did not 
get confused we ran Parent Participation Programs and one of these focused on 
reading with children following the Pause, Prompt, Praise routine.  I have outlined 
this below - it is written through the voice of the child because it was on our 
school website which no longer exists now that I have retired.


However I believe this should not be about grade-level expectations – it should 
be about working on from where each individual is at.


It is also a useful guide for parents listening to their child at home.  In 
addition, the Reading Recovery teacher and I also ‘trained’ some senior 
students in a Reading Tutors’ program which ran every day for six weeks for the 
15 minutes before the initial bell so we could catch kids falling through the 
cracks because of lack of parent involvement.  This was really successful and was a 
highly sought after program by the senior kids, the little ones, the teachers and 
the parents.  (Before a child could be involved, the parent had to agree to put in 
some time at home too – some did, some didn’t but at least every child got some 
intensive tutoring.)


One day, I’ll write that program up!






Professor Marie Clay, who is acknowledged as the expert in children's early reading 
behaviours, says "85% of a child's reading should be easy, familiar reading." So 
children should always work on a book they have heard or read before when working 
with an unfamiliar adult or in an unfamiliar situation.


Author Mem Fox believes that every child should hear at least 1000 stories before 
they go to school so encourage the tutor to read a story to the child so the child 
becomes more familiar with the language, rhythm, cadence and sounds of the 
language.  Have them review the book they read last time and, if the child seems 
comfortable, invite him/her to read it again as a sort of ‘warm-up’.


I like reading to you when

*       we have a regular time that's right for both of us so you are not 
*       we have a quiet, comfortable place that is just for us 
*       we talk about the book, its title and illustrations, so I can find out what 
it's about. It only takes a couple of minutes and it helps me focus my thoughts on 
what I will expect 
*       you help me find some of the tricky words, like `ferocious' and `gnawed', 
and you tell me what they mean, before I read. 
*       I can hold the book for myself and turn my own page. 
*       you DON'T cover up the pictures. They make the book fun, and they help me 
to decide which reading clues to use. 
*       you stay as quiet as you can and only help me when I am really stuck 
*       you tell me when I'm doing a good job.


You can really help me when

*       understanding that I am doing the best I can. It really upsets me when you 
say "That's wrong, I've told you that word before, you should know it by now!" or 
"That's wrong, sound it out." 

Instead, please think of something that will help me work it out, like this: "You 
just read `the fireman pulled the house off the truck and aimed it at the fire.' 
Does that make sense? What do you think it could be that would make sense?"

*       letting me to continue to read if my mistake makes sense (e.g. if I say 
"This is my home" when the words in the book are "This is my house") because I'm 
still reading for meaning. 
*       learning how to help me when I do get stuck 

If I have trouble you can

*       wait about 10 seconds before you interrupt. I might be thinking about it 
*       tell me to get my mouth ready for the word I don't know e.g. "The boy fell 
into the w- - - - ." 
*       help me to think of a word that would make sense e.g. "What could the boy 
fall into?" 
*       remind me to look at the picture for a clue e.g. "Look where the boy fell 
in the picture." 
*       give me a clue for the meaning of the word 
*       read the first part of the sentence back to me e.g. "The boy fell in the 
*       encourage me to read the first part of the sentence again
*       say "That's right" or "Good try" and then let me continue reading so I 
don't lose the plot. 

When we have finished you can 

*       praise my efforts and my self-corrections such as, "I liked it when you 
went back and changed `river' to `water'. That was clever." 
*       praise my efforts for trying to make my reading interesting for you, such 
as "I liked the way you used a squeaky voice for the mouse." 
*       talk with me about our favourite parts of the story such as. "You obviously 
liked the part about ... Why?" 
*       talk with me about the pictures in the book to help me see their connection 
to the story and details I might have missed 
*       talk with me about what might have happened if .... 
*       talk with me about what might have happened next ... 
*       ask me questions about the characters and the plot of the book such as "How 
did you feel when the giant was angry? Can you find that part in the book? Did you 
think he deserved to get stung by the bees? Why?"
This helps me really understand the story and the relationships between the 
characters and what happened to them. Sometimes it even helps me sort out problems 
in my own life! I might even feel comfortable talking to you about them. 
*       ask me what I might have done if I had been in that situation 
*       talk with me about the language in the book and new words I might have 
learned or not understood 
*       suggest other books on similar topics to the book I enjoyed. 
*       say something nice that will make me want to read to you again 

Of course, I want to remember the magic of the story so don't ask me all these 
things at once, just one or two so I can think about what I have read and what I 
have learned.

If we are not enjoying ourselves we can

*       stop and try again another time 
*       take turns at reading a page each, especially if the words are really hard 
*       let you read while I listen 
*       choose another book 


Barbara Braxton

Teacher Librarian


Together, we learn from each other



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