Parent Support Area

Tips on how to help your student with reading at home

Don't know where to start? See the general tips below and then the specific areas that follow.

Making Inferences

Students generally struggle with the skill of inferring.  To make an inference, a student must make a connection between the text they are reading and working with and their prior knowledge.  That prior knowledge may be another book they have read, something they have seen on television, or even their own life experience.
A story may talk about a girl that smiles even though she hates the new sweater she has received for her birthday.  The student has to make the connection that, they too, like the story's character know what it feels like to receive a less-than-desirable gift.  Thus, the child then further makes the connection that the girl in the story does not like the gift, but smiles because she does not want the gift giver to feel unappreciated.
This seems simple to an experience person with making connections, but the concept can be very abstract and require the student to make multiple connections.  Some connections may involve experiences the student is yet to have or witness.

Main Idea & Supporting Details

Determining what the main idea of a selection is taking note to what the text is mostly about.  The details support what the text is mainly conveying.  Students often confuse the supporting details as the main idea. Or, a student may get fascinated with one detail and it will remain spotlighted in comparison to the main idea and other details.
Students are asked to identify or produce a main idea for entire selections or just section (or paragraphs) of a written text. In order to develop an understanding of what the main idea is the reader must ask herself, "What is this story/paragraph mostly about?"

Tina loves to jog every Friday to and from her local, neighborhood park.  She also loves to have yoga sessions in the park when they are held on Saturdays.  Whenever her friends are up for it, Tina goes hiking in the local, state park.  She always saves a little room for a nice competitive game of basketball against her older brother. 

A student may think the main idea is that Tina plays sports.  However, hiking and yoga are not necessary a "sport".

Main Idea:  Tina like to stay active.  OR  Tina enjoys outdoor activities. 
Details: Jogs, yoga, hiking, and basketball

Figurative Language: Idioms, Metaphors, Oxymoron, Hyperbole, Similies

Figurative language can be a challenge.  A reader may not be able to see into double or hidden meanings.  For this reason, many reader initially struggle with poems which can contain many lines of unclear statements.
A good way for students to begin to understand figurative language is to introduce a few types with examples.  Next, I like to move into dissecting the figuarative language to pin point what the message it is trying to convey.