At Princes Hill Primary, we believe in the importance of fostering a love of reading. All children are encouraged to read regularly at home. Children at the school can borrow books from the library where library books and take home books are stored.
Now that our new library system is up and running the children have been able to borrow library books during class library sessions. In fact the children were all very excited about our first library session (last Friday) and hopefully have been doing lots of reading over the weekend!
We encourage children choose their own books from the library collection and these may be borrowed for up to two weeks. We do ask that children ensure they bring their Reading Folder each day (particularly on Fridays as this will be our allocated borrowing day) as this enables us to track their reading at home and keeps our books from being damaged in school bags.
Take home books
The Junior School take home books are located in the library where the school’s book collection is housed. The Junior School books are grouped by reading ability. Coloured dots stuck to the back of books denote what level of reading experience a child might need to be able to read them easily. We generally encourage children to select one or two books from our Junior School collection and another book from our picture book or interest section each time we visit the library.
Blue is for those students at the very first stages of reading who are happy to have a go but generally need help making sense of the text.
Green means you have some understanding of the meaning of the text, the sight vocabulary and some knowledge of sounds and letters.
Orange means you are developing as a reader and whilst you cannot read everything you are starting to understand what strategies to use when you come across something unfamiliar in the text.
Yellow means you are very fluent but you are still refining some of your reading strategies.
Red means you are an independent reader who requires little if any help understanding the text.
Selecting your book
It is important that children choose their own books.
- It is well established that children who have choice over their learning do better at it than those who have no choice.
- Having control over decisions gives children a sense of self determination which can alleviate stress and promote a feeling of competence.
- If we want children to take responsibility for their own learning we need to give them opportunities to do exactly that.
However children may at times need support from teachers and parents and we understand that for the sake of sanity and time, sometimes you may need to grab books on behalf of your children.
Students have the opportunity to borrow every Friday. We encourage the children to read their selected books multiple times throughout the week!
Now that you have a book…
The prime purpose of reading at home is for your child to enjoy fiction and nonfiction texts with a significant person in their life, whilst developing their own reading skills. We hope that reading together will be a special and regular part of your family time. The following are some suggestions to make your reading time pleasurable and rewarding.
Talk about the book
If it seems appropriate, talk about the book a little before you start reading.
You could ask “What do you think this book will be about?” or say “Let’s look at the pictures before we start”.
Start to read
You could read the book –
- To your child
- Together, page by page
- In turns
- Leaving out “key words” for your child to read
- Or your child could read to you.
Remembering that is important not to spoil a good story so it is always best to read a book from beginning to end before you use it to ‘teach’ reading skills or explore the meaning of the text.
Because reading is about making meaning from print some mistakes don’t have to be corrected. If your child makes a mistake and it makes sense, allow your child to continue.
If your child makes a mistake which doesn’t make sense:
- Wait and allow your child to read to the end of the sentence.
- Ask “does that make sense?” Encourage your child to re-read the whole sentence.
- Encourage self-correction but if necessary tell your child the word to keep the meaning and the story flow.
If your child gets “stuck” on a word wait and give your child a chance to work it out. Then try one or two of these supports:
- Use the meaning of the sentence or story to encourage your child to “predict” what the word might be.
- Perhaps the story relates to an experience you child has had so talking about that might prompt some insight into what the word might be.
- Ask, “What word would make sense here?”
- Encourage the re-reading of the sentence to put in a word which makes sense. (Several words might make sense and this could lead to a discussion about how many words have similar meanings).
- Point out familiar groups of letters or sounds which might help your child work out the word by sounding it out. Have you heard or seen the word before?
- Finally, it’s okay to tell your child the word.
The value of familiar reading
If your child selects books which have been borrowed before or which you think are too “easy” for your child, remember:
- Children build up their confidence by re-reading familiar books.
- Rereading the story can help build on what they already know about language, plot, and character.
- Home reading is designed to offer practise and enjoyment over challenge and “teaching” new skills.
If the book seems a little hard
It may be that:
- Your child is tired or
- Your child has been a little over-ambitious in his or her choice of book. (Sometimes children select more difficult books because the content appeals to them or they want the challenge).
If so, reading together or reading to your child may be required.
The Reader’s Notebook
We have been very impressed with children’s entries in their Reader’s Notebooks so far. Many children have been eager to share with us and their peers which is wonderful! If you are still a little unsure about how to use this book please refer to the note in the front cover, ask your child or of course the teachers will be more than happy to help!
Children learn to read by reading and by being read to.
- Read with and to your child often
- Read a wide range of material
- Enjoy reading together.
- Offer lots of encouragement.
- Be patient and positive.
- Let them choose what they read
And most importantly of all have fun!