Guest Author - Jeanne Rutgers
As a reading tutor I often have people ask me, “How do I know if my child’s reading is progressing properly?” or “How many words should my first grader be able to read?”
and finally, “Is there anything I can do at home to promote my child’s reading?”
The answers to all of those important questions can be found in Susan Hall’s and Louisa Moat’s, Straight Talk About Reading. This is my favorite reading book written for parents. This book clearly explains the important role parents have in their children’s reading education.
The first chapter explains the differences in reading instruction in America. It clearly explains the 10 components necessary to good reading education and describes the differences between phonics and whole language. This first chapter also shows the author’s personal experience with her son’s reading difficulties. As a result of her experience the author believes that parents have a tremendous responsibility to oversee their child’s reading education.
Later chapters demonstrate exactly what parents can be doing to help their child’s reading. Chapter three goes into great detail about the importance of reading allow to your child at an early age. Out loud reading teaches background knowledge, introduces new vocabulary, and teaches young children that letters represent words and we read left to right. It also exposes children to basic concepts of a story such as plot, setting, and characters. The book also provides numerous phonics and phonemic awareness activities that can be done easily at home. Even if a parent feels that they themselves, have not had good phonics instruction, this book shows you how to create phonics games that anyone could play.
The greatest strength of the book is the format. The author breaks up the chapters into questions and answers. Questions such as, “Should I Dissuade My Child from Rereading Books That Are Too Easy for Him? or “Do I Correct All Errors My Child Makes While Reading Aloud?” are answered. In addition to providing answers for common questions, the book provides detailed reading benchmarks for kindergarten through third grade.
What sets this apart from other reading books is that Straight Talk was written for parents, by a parent and a reading researcher. Susan Hall wrote the book as a result of her search to help her child improve his reading skills. Louisa Moats is a noted educator who directs a research study on primary classroom instruction, funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. This book clearly describes what parents need to do outside the classroom to promote their child’s reading.
Straight Talk, is written for all parents of young children. If your child is struggling with reading or has been given a diagnosis of learning disabled I reccomend another book by Susan Hall, Parenting the Struggling Reader.
For more information on struggling readers click here to read a complete article.