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HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN BECOME BETTER READERS
Ask your child (or email Mrs. Blevins) to get his/her reading level/reading range. 

1.   Check library books your children bring home and see if they are within their reading range.  No book should be too much lower (too easy and reading level won't increase) or too much higher (too difficult and they will probably fail their AR test.  Exception:  a book in which they are really interested and seem to be understanding and enjoying).
2.   Make sure your children get books they enjoy.  Nobody likes to read something that is boring!

3.   READ, READ, READ, and READ some more!!!  The more they read, the better reader they'll become!!  Reading is just like playing a musical instrument or sport, if you don't do it, you don't get any better.  You have to practice daily!
4.   Set aside a 20--30 minute time each day for your children to read (15 minutes before dinner and 15 minutes after dinner;  20-30 minutes before going to bed, etc.--whatever works best for your child).  Be consistent.  Guard this time.  Have a special, quiet place for reading--no TV.  Have a family reading time where everybody reads.  Have your children take turns reading out loud to each other while you fix dinner.  Once again, whatever works best for you and your children.  Hopefully, you'll be establishing some life-long habits!
5.   Have your children read most of their books at the top of their reading range.  As they pass tests over thes books, remind them to get books on a little higher level.  If they continue to do this all year, their reading level should increase by two to four grade levels!!!!

6.   Limit TV time.  For quiet homes and increased reading skills, tell them one 30-minute show they watch each day must be closed caption with no volume (with no volume they are forced to read it)!   I have special forms for this.  If they have your signature on the form, they can get extra credit!!  This is a little difficult at first, but the more they do it, the better they become and the faster they will be reading!!  You'll love how quiet your home will be!!
7.   Post-It Note Comprehension.  If your children have problems remembering what they read, first make sure they are reading a book they like and that it's not too hard for them.  If they like it, and it's not too hard, have them keep some post-it notes in their book.  Have them write a simple summary or make a list as they read of the main things that happen in each chapter.  They can review the previous notes before they start reading the next time.  This refreshes their memory without having to read an entire chapter.  It also keeps them focused since they know they will need to make notes.  These notes should be simple and short--lists are fine--don't worry about grammar on these or they won't do them.  It is something to assist them, not punish them. 
10.  Read to your children or get books on tape for them.  Young adult literature is wonderful!  Once you start reading with your children, you'll love it!  The key is having them follow along.  Following along with a proficient reader is a great way to improve one's reading and listening skills.  However, if they don't follow along, the only thing that will improve is their listening skills. 

11.  Have your children read to a younger sibling, friend, cousin, or neighbor.  First, have them practice reading a picture book 2-3 times .  Then have them read it to someone younger.  You can even time them to prove how much faster and better they read it each time.  There are lots of great picture books out there on lots of different reading levels!
12.  Get your children some magazine subscriptions.  You can even get magazines from used book stores for very little money.  This is great for them to see there is more to read than just books.

13.  Buy books for your children for special occasions.  It's really neat when they begin to build their own library!  This also shows them that reading is important.
14.  Visit your local library on a regular basis--especially during the summer.

15.  Let your children see you reading.  There's nothing like being a silent role model--yes, they really do notice!  I read some in school, but I saw my mother reading early every morning, and every night before she went to bed.  Guess what?  I do the exact same thing and she never said a word to me about it!

E-mail Mrs. Blevins with other suggestions that you find that works around your house for helping your pre-teen/teenager read more and better or e-mail your favorite web sites for parents.
8.   Talk to your children about what they are reading.  Ask them what they read about today.  Ask them to describe the characters.  Discuss the characters and events in their book. 

9.   If longer books are intimidating to your child, have them divide the number of pages by the number of days they want to take to finish the book (they need to read at least one book every three weeks for class).  This will show them exactly how many pages they need to read each day.  This goal setting really helps most kids finish books they wouldn't otherwise finish.  It also keeps them reading daily because they have to double up the next day if they miss a day.
BLEVINS ENTERPRISES               blevins@blevinsenterprises.com
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