Let’s Be A Safety Net

“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”

Elizabeth Hardwick

Last Friday, a few of us moms got together and had our first official game night.

There is nothing more fun than a group of adults playing games. All the personalities show up, and it is hilarious!

You have the real competitive ones, the side talkers, the rule followers, and the quiet but lethal ones. In our group, we have someone who has been on three different game shows including Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and pretty much has won on each one of those.

Yeah, you want to be on her team. Always.

One of the games we played was Charades…a fancy version of it.  There were three sets of cards to choose from: easy, medium, and hard.

At the beginning of the game, every single player chose from the easy pile. Not one of us chose right away from the hard pile.

Of course, right?

We wanted to make sure we could handle the easy before we moved on to the medium, much less the hard pile, of course. Especially, when you have to act out in front of a group! No matter how much you like them!

We had to ease into it and settle in first….even the champion game player, y’all! Of course, she could have just been doing that to make us feel better, but I’m going with she needed easing in time, too. Probably not, though! She’s a champ!

Y’all, we’re adults and we have to make sure we’re in a safe learning environment.

We all need a safety net when it comes to learning….kids and especially adults. But kids are the ones who  constantly have to put themselves out there to show how much they know or what they can do.

Kids are extremely brave each day, but where is their safety net when they need one?

There may not always be one available, but this blog is for anyone who listens to a kid read. If you homeschool a budding reader or a child brings a leveled reader home to read to you each night, then, you are that child’s safety net while they are sorting through the new world of print.

Whether you choose the book for the young reader to read, or a book is sent home to you, always consider what the child knows. The new book should contain mostly known things with one or maybe two new items to learn. If it’s a book that was sent home with the child, look at it with those same eyes.

We need to ask, “What does the child already have under control and what should I be prepared to fill in with, if need be?”

You’re kind of like a “de-bugger” when a new book is being read! Here are a few things for a “de-bugger” to look for:

  1. The Book Language: How does the book talk? Is there something that is repeated over and over? Be sure to say it out loud so the child can hear how it should sound. Sometimes book language is different than how we talk…so make it more familiar to the child so it isn’t a stumbling block.
  2. Known Words: Does the book have enough of the child’s known words to anchor the child and allow the child to successfully get through the book without too many problems? One or two things to work through is okay, but there should never be more than that. If there are more hard parts, grab a new book with more known items or if it’s a book sent home, fill in and move on. (Soon, we will talk about possible prompts to say when a child gets stuck besides “Sound it out.”)
  3. Flexibility: How flexible is the child with what he knows? For example, my five year old knows the word “is”, but place that word at the beginning of a sentence and she struggles a bit. It looks different with the capital “I” and it’s in a new spot she’s never seen before. She isn’t flexible, yet, with that word, but we will talk about before we read the book to help “debug” the book for her! (Removing possible stumbling blocks.)
  4. Number of lines/Amount of Print: If a child is on an early level, please consider the number of lines and amount of print on each page. In our last blog, I shared how number of lines threw my five year old for a loop. She had been used to one or two lines of print, then all of a sudden she was to read a book with four lines! I offered her an index card to help cover up the lines so not all that print was glaring at her at one time! (Removing stumbling blocks!)
  5. Picture Support: Does the picture offer a lot of support for the young reader searching for meaning of the story? Budding readers will need lots of picture support as they gain control of more reading strategies. (Setting the reader up for success.)

So now, you are an official “de-bugger”! You are ready for whatever book is thrown at you from today’s reading folder! You got this!

Next blog, will be a video of a picture walk…how to walk through a new book before reading it to “de-bug” for your little reader! You’ll be a professional “de-bugger” before this is all over!

Add that to your resume!













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