What is It? Make Books Special. Parent Mistakes. Get them to read another one. Menu Mania. Crack Open the Dictionary. Mind Tricks. Are we there yet?

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1 Third grade marks a critical transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Students are putting all the parts together to read for information. Decoding is more automatic which leads to smoother reading. Students will be able to read fluently and with expression. There is much more emphasis on thinking and using the author s clues to make an inference or a guess about the message of the text. Students will be expected to go beyond the who and the what questions to answer the how and the why. They will also be reading more non-fiction and learning to use dictionaries, encyclopedias and even a thesaurus. So, read about it, talk about it, and think about it! Find ways for your child to build understanding, the ultimate goal of learning how to read. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader AND writer. Try a new tip each week.see what works best for your child. Make Books Special What is It? Even in 3rd grade, you should turn reading into something special. Take kids to the library, read with them and buy them books as gifts whenever possible. Have a favorite place for books in your home or, even better, put books everywhere. Ask your child to write a paragraph describing a person, place, or thing without naming it. Read the paragraph and see if you can guess what they are describing. Get them to read another one Find ways to encourage your child to pick up another book. Introduce him or her to a series like The Boxcar Children or to a second book by a favorite author, or ask the librarian for suggestions. Crack Open the Dictionary Let your child see you use the dictionary. Say, Hmmm, I m not sure what that word means.i think I ll look it up. You could even make a scavenger hunt where your child has to find several words in the dictionary. Mind Tricks Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help deepen comprehension. Are we there yet? Use the time spent in the car for wordplay. Talk about how jam means something you put on toast as well as cars stuck in traffic. How many other homonyms can your child think of? Parent Mistakes You write a paragraph and have your child edit it. Include lots of mistakes to improve their proofreading skills. Give them the number of mistakes to find. Menu Mania Try this the next time you go out to eat. Have your child pay attention to the words on the menu. Ask questions such as How is the food described? Does the writing create a picture of how the food looks, smells, or tastes? Does it make you want to order the food? At a later time have your child write his or her own menu. He or she needs to think about what kind of restaurant it is and who would be going there. Help your child think of items to include and ways to describe the food. Discuss the difference between writing peanut butter and jelly sandwich and writing crunchy peanut butter and wild raspberry jam served on country white bread with or without the crusts. Have a question or need more ideas? Contact Hillary Billingsley, SAES Reading Specialist, by calling or ing her at

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3 Fourth grade students should be well on their way to reading proficiency. Children should be reading chapter books and nonfiction independently, fluently and with understanding. The goal in fourth grade is to keep kids reading a variety of texts and deepen their comprehension. Fourth graders should read and understand elements of myths, fairy tales, fables, legends, biographies, plays, fantasies, mysteries, realistic fiction, autobiographies, magazines, newspapers, diaries, journals passages and letters. Students will do research by gathering information from a variety of sources, including the Internet, encyclopedias, textbooks, maps and other resource materials. They should be able to use different features of a book (index, glossary, preface, and appendix) to find facts. Fourth graders will use writing in all subjects. They will start to refine specific writing skills, learning how to respond to prompts, use details, and master age-appropriate vocabulary words. Many types of writing will be explored: descriptive, narrative, expository or non-fiction, and even persuasive. Make Books Special Even in 4th grade, you should turn reading into something special. Take kids to the library, read with them and buy them books as gifts whenever possible. Have a favorite place for books in your home or, even better, put books everywhere. Get them to read another one Find ways to encourage your child to pick up another book. Introduce him or her to a series like Time Warp Trio by John Scieszka or to a second book by a favorite author, or ask the librarian for suggestions. Crack Open the Dictionary Let your child see you use the dictionary. Say, Hmmm, I m not sure what that word means.i think I ll look it up. You could even make a scavenger hunt where your child has to find several words in the dictionary. Mind Tricks Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help deepen comprehension. Are we there yet? Use the time spent in the car for wordplay. Talk about how jam means something you put on toast as well as cars stuck in traffic. How many other homonyms can your child think of? What is It? Ask your child to write a paragraph describing a person, place, or thing without naming it. Read the paragraph and see if you can guess what they are describing. Parent Mistakes You write a paragraph and have your child edit it. Include lots of mistakes to improve their proofreading skills. Give them the number of mistakes to find. Menu Mania Try this the next time you go out to eat. Have your child pay attention to the words on the menu. Ask questions such as How is the food described? Does the writing create a picture of how the food looks, smells, or tastes? Does it make you want to order the food? At a later time have your child write his or her own menu. He or she needs to think about what kind of restaurant it is and who would be going there. Help your child think of items to include and ways to describe the food. Discuss the difference between writing peanut butter and jelly sandwich and writing crunchy peanut butter and wild raspberry jam served on country white bread with or without the crusts. Have a question or need more ideas? Contact Hillary Billingsley, SAES Reading Specialist, by calling or ing her at

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5 Fifth graders are expected to read complex text fluently and with strong comprehension. They spend much of their time discussing, reflecting on, and responding to a wide variety of literature and informational texts. Fifth graders use different strategies to help them identify main ideas and themes, make inferences and draw conclusions from the text. Gaining a deeper understanding of what they are reading is the goal. Students also continue to improve on the research skills learned in fourth grade. They should be able to gather information from a variety of sources and use the different features of a book. There is an increased emphasis on writing in fifth grade. Students are refining skills to be successful at responding to a prompt. The state test is given in March. Fifth graders will spend a lot of time writing across the curriculum and writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. Students will be expected to edit their writing for correct grammar, capitalization, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. Make Books Special Even in 5th grade, you should turn reading into something special. Take kids to the library, read with them and buy them books as gifts whenever possible. Have a favorite place for books in your home or, even better, put books everywhere. Menu Mania Try this the next time you go out to eat. Have your child pay attention to the words on the menu. Ask questions such as How is the food described? Does the writing create a picture of how the food looks, smells, or tastes? Does it make you want to order the food? Crack Open the Dictionary Let your child see you use the dictionary. Say, Hmmm, I m not sure what that word means.i think I ll look it up. You could even make a scavenger hunt where your child has to find several words in the dictionary. What is It? At a later time have your child write his or her own menu. He or she needs to think about what kind of restaurant it is and who would be going there. Help your child think of items to include and ways to describe the food. Discuss the difference between writing peanut butter and jelly sandwich and writing crunchy peanut butter and wild raspberry jam served on country white bread with or without the crusts. Ask your child to write a paragraph describing a person, place, or thing without naming it. Read the paragraph and see if you can guess what they are describing. Parent Mistakes You write a paragraph and have your child edit it. Include lots of mistakes to improve their proofreading skills. Give them the number of mistakes to find. Get to the Root of It Give your child a list of words with prefixes and suffixes and have them tell you the root or base word. (Example: recount = count, preheat = heat, reasonable = reason, joyous = joy) You could also do this verbally in the car to pass the time. Become a Specialist Encourage your child to develop interests he or she can Become a Specialist Encourage your child to develop interests he or she can investigate, research, and write about to become an expert on the topic. Write, Write, Write Set a good example by writing at home. Share your own writing. Show your child personal, business, and consumer letters you write as well as receive. Organize a weekly board for written messages for all family members. Involve your child in family writing activities such as making shopping lists, instructions for babysitters, plans for birthday parties and notes for school. Have a question or need more ideas? Contact Hillary Billingsley, SAES Reading Specialist, by calling or ing her at

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