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In this post I’m going to try and explain a VERY simple but helpful way to think about reading progression for kids.
Kindergarten- First Grade: Laying the foundation for reading (in general)
- Knowing phonics
- Knowing sight words
- Churning through a certain number of books/ week (approximately 5 age appropriate books / week)
Second Grade – Third Grade: Laying down the foundation for independent reading
- Knowing advanced sight words
- Building vocabulary by knowing how to decode more advanced words
- Churning through a certain number of books/ week (approximately 4 age appropriate books / week)
Forth Grade – Fifth Grade: The start of a lifelong practice of independent reading
- Learning to draw meaning (inferences and conclusions) from text
- Building vocabulary
- Churning through a certain number of books/ month (approximately 2 age appropriate novels / month)
I gathered this information from various books I’ve read on the topic of reading, internet research, and my own experience tutoring reading for a wide age-range of kids. The difficulty starts when kids miss out on the foundational skills that are generally acquired in K-3; by the time they get to forth grade, children are expected to make inferences and draw conclusions. To be sure, children do practice these skills earlier, but to a much lesser extent.
I also want to note that the number of books per week or month is simply a guideline I find helpful and is not a hard and fast number. The point is to continue to read to your kids and to have them read independently as soon as they can. Reading takes a lot of practice in the early years, which boils down to consuming a large volume of books.
Please share any comments or helpful ideas!
I started working on producing an ebook of Alice in Wonderland enhanced with only audio narration. My idealist thinking is that this way, children could have the experience of following along in the text as the audio narration plays. And that ultimately kids could churn through a greater volume of books without needing help from an adult.
I guess I should mention here that in no way do I mean to say that reading with an adult is obsolete or can be replaced. This idea is intended to support, not replace, parent and child efforts to read more.
Here is what I learned:
There are a lot of issues with format and platform compatibility; apparently the only format that supports audio embedding (or audio overlay) is the EPUB 3 FXL.
The only platform supporting most of the functionality of an EPUB 3 format is the Apple iPad through iBooks. The file may “work” on other platforms but might be rendered slightly differently by another application or worse, may not work at all.
An iPad (or tablet of any sort) is not a good e-reading device kids (or adults in my opinion). Too many distractions. I think the fact that a company like MeeGenius (offering an enhanced ebook library subscription) is struggling is evidence that parents are not convinced that e-reading on a tablet (or e-reading at all perhaps) is real reading.
There is no consensus on what is actually “enriching” the book experience and what is just “let’s do it because we can”.
As I parent I would love to see an actual e-reader for kids, meaning an e-reader capable of button initiated audio narration. With no games or other sorts of “edutainment”. Just good old fashion kids books, with some help from an audio file.
I have since abandoned this project as I don’t have the technical expertise, or business expertise, to pull something like this off. I think Amazon has a nascent ebook with audio product, but the files only work on their tablet devices, not e-readers.
School aged kids and their parents have been on my mind today, as thousands of kids embarked on a new chapter in their academic careers. For us, it’s the first day of school— ever. I’m both excited and somewhat nervous about how my kindergartener will feel once he realizes that we’ll be doing this, “going to school” thing, every day. My goal for this blog , is to support very busy parents in managing their child’s education with what I hope will be insightful information and encouragement. After all, these kids just want to do a good job. At least today, no one is failing a class, and the sky’s the limit!