Guest Author - Heidi Shelton Jenck
Parents worry about how well their children read, and for good reason. Strong literacy skills are critical for future success. Parents want to know whether their children are making progress in reading at school. Two of the most common questions parents ask at school conferences are:
Does my child have any friends at school?
How is my child doing in reading?
School conferences are often short, making it difficult to talk about everything a parent or teacher wants to cover. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s reading progress, be sure to bring them up at the start of the conference. Here are some suggestions for discussing reading progress during school conferences.
Many schools require considerable data collection on student reading skills. Test scores can be difficult to interpret. Ask your child’s teacher to explain what the data on your child means, and whether there is any reason for concern. If you suspect your child has a reading disability, ask whether the data matches your concerns, and whether the school has support services for struggling readers.
General statements about a child’s reading ability won’t give you information about how to help your child. Ask the teacher for specific details, such as whether your child needs to work on fluency, speed, comprehension, or decoding.
Work with your child’s teacher to make a plan for increasing reading skills. Find out specifically what your child’s teacher will do, and how you can support what they are doing at home. Let the teacher know if you have time to do extra support work at home, and ask for materials to help your child.
If your child is a struggling reader, make the issue a priority during conferences. It can be helpful to have knowledge about how children learn to read when you talk with school personnel. Websites like http://www.readingrockets.org/ and http://www.ldonline.org/ are good places to learn more about reading disabilities.
Parenting a Struggling Reader, by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats, offers a plan for parents with a child with reading challenges. Look for it in your public library, or click the book below for more information at Amazon.com.
Straight Talk About Reading, by the same authors, is a guide for parents who want to get more involved in helping their children learn to read, write, and spell. Look for it in your local library, or find more information at Amazon.com by clicking the book below.