Please see links to some great parental resources that can help literacy development in any language. They are from Edmonton Public School Board Pages for parents.
Five Finger Test for Choosing Books
As a parent you can help your child choose a book that is Just Right for them by following the Goldilocks’ Rules.
In “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” Goldilocks desperately wanted to find the porridge, chair, and bed that were “just right” for her. Selecting a book can sometimes feel the same way. Just as Goldilocks found that some porridges were too hot or too cold and others were just right, beginning readers often have the same difficulty finding books that are just right for the skills they possess.
When you are reading a book, use the Five Finger Test to help find a book that is “just right.”
The Five Finger Test
Sometimes it is difficult to know if a book is going to be too easy or too hard just by looking at it. The Five Finger test is one way to “test” a book before you spend too much time with it and get frustrated.
- Choose a book you would like to read.2. Open it to a page near the middle.3. Begin to read the page. It is best to read the page aloud while doing the test so you can hear the places where you have difficulty.
4. Each time you come to a word you don’t know right away, hold one finger up.
- If you have all five fingers up before you get to the end of the page, this is a book that mom or dad might need to read to you. Right now it is too difficult for you to read it on your own. All five fingers up is called a Too Hard Book.
- If you have no fingers up when you finish the page, then the book may be an easy read for you. No fingers up is called a Too Easy Book.7. If you have less than five fingers but more than one or two fingers up when you finish reading the page, the book may be just what you need to grow as a reader. Some fingers up is called a Just Right Book.
Too Easy Books
As you read, ask yourself these questions. If you answer “yes” to most of the questions then the book is probably too easy for you. You can still have fun reading it, but next time try to choose a book that is a little more challenging.
1. Have you read this book many times before?
2. Do you understand the story very well without much effort?
3. Do you know and understand almost every word?
4. Can you read it smoothly without much practice or effort?
*This is the kind of book that can be read independently as it will build your child’s confidence.
Just Right Books
As you read, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes to most of them, then the book you are reading is probably “just right” for you. These are the books that will help you make the most progress in your reading.
1. Is this book new to you?
2. Do you understand most of the book?
3. Are there a few words per page that you don’t recognize or know the meaning to instantly? Try using the five finger test.
- When you read, are some places smooth and some places choppy?
- Can someone help you with the book if you hit a tough spot?
*This is the kind of book a child can read independently and can be used for guided instruction.
Too Hard Books
As you read, ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes to most of these questions, then the book is probably too hard for you. Don’t forget about the book, try it again later. As you gain experience in choosing “just right” books, you may find when you pick the book up again that it is “just right.”
1. Are there more than a few words on a page that you don’t recognize or know the meaning? Try using the five finger test.
- Are you confused about what is happening in most of the book?3. When you read, are you struggling and does it sound choppy?4. Is everyone busy and unable to help you if you hit a tough spot?
*This is a book that an adult can read to the child. Alone, the child will reach frustration.
Promote a Love of Reading & Improve Student Success!
Q: What should I read to my child?
A: Anything and everything! Books, magazines, newspapers, online content, food labels, shopping lists, street signs, calendars, packaging of household items, receipts, restaurant menus, maps, flyers and brochures, song lyrics, baseball cards, and anything with words.
Q: What if my child doesn’t like to read, how can I get them interested?
A: Set a good example and be a model of someone who reads for pleasure. Talk to them about things you are reading and why you are reading them. Start with having discussions with them on various topics to further develop their oral language skills ie. what the movie they watched was about and why they liked it, or how to solve a problem they might be having. Oral storytelling in another great way to begin to get kids interested in reading and writing. Share some stories with them and see if they can make up some stories to tell you, or retell a story they have heard before.
Q: Does it matter which language I read or speak to my child in?
A: No. Reading books and storytelling in either language is extremely beneficial to a child’s language development, regardless of the language they are learning at school. Please take the time to read, tell stories and talk to your children daily to improve their overall academic success. “The level of development of children’s mother tongue is a strong predictor of their second language development. Children who come to school with a solid foundation in their mother tongue develop stronger literacy abilities in the school language. When parents and other caregivers are able to spend time with their children and tell stories or discuss issues with them in a way that develops their mother tongue vocabulary and concepts, children come to school well-prepared to learn the school language and succeed educationally.” -Jim Cummins, “Bilingual Children’s Mother’s Tongue: Why is it Important for Education?”
Q: How often should I read to my child?
A: Everyday! It’s like breakfast – it shouldn’t be skipped. It is the single most important thing you can do to help your child learn to read and write and to succeed in school. Children who are read to when they are young are more likely to love reading and to be good readers when they are older.
Q: What can I do if I don’t have many books at home?
A: There are a lot of different ways you can read with your children without having to buy a bunch of books. Visit the local library and sign up for a library card, it’s free! At the library you can find books on topics your child is interested in and find ones that your child can read to you as well. The library also has internet access for you to visit some great websites with online books. Here is a list of websites you can use to read with your child from home or the library:
This website has a variety of children’s books available for download to be read aloud by an adult.
Developed by The Screen Actors Guild Foundation, this website features actors/actresses reading some of their favourite children’s books.
While part of this site requires a membership, they have many early reader stories for free. Children can follow along as the story is read to them.
Children can listen to short stories read aloud to them as they follow along with the highlighted text. Click on the grade your child is in and then look under “word games” to find the stories available. This site also has a wide range of educational games by grade level.
Children can listen to audio stories of original, fairytale, and classic stories. The text of the story is also available to follow along.
After registering for a free account, you will have access to over 250 children’s audio books.
An adult can read books aloud to children by searching language, age, and other filters.
Home Literacy Tips for Parents
(From: Reading and Writing with Your Child, Kindergarten to Grade 6: A Parent Guide http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/parentGuideLitEn.pdf)
Children respond well to routine, so if possible, make reading together something that you and your child look forward to every day. Here are some ideas about how to make the most of this time together:
Create a daily reading time:
• Set aside a special time each day when you can give your full attention to reading with your child.
• Find out what your child is passionate about and learn as much as you can about this topic.
• Go to the library together or browse online for material.
• Use books featuring your child’s favourite character from a specific TV show.
• Use great websites from home or your local library to read online.
• Include a spot for games, puzzles, comics or software.
• Read books and other materials in your child’s first language. This will help your child with reading in English and other languages as well.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Here are some pages and research about literacy to inform. As articles are found to help out the staff of the school they will be added to this site to assist the public increase their literacy skills and development.
ADHD basics– This site is full of good information about attention deficit hyper activity disorder or ADHD for short.
Teaching Addition With Regrouping Using Sticky Notes– This is very cool and easy