Back-to-school: How my first-grade niece is reading

Loribelle Lapaix  //  Aug 29, 2018

Back-to-school: How my first-grade niece is reading

Truth: I can’t say I’ve been the best advocate this summer in promoting summer reading within my home. Not to say that summer reading hasn’t occurred BUT it hasn’t happened everyday, and instead of sitting down to open a book every night, I’ve naturally instituted a read on-the-go method. That method is basically a random point to a word, phrase, or sentence that I spot during errands to the supermarket, laundromat, or doctor and a subsequent request for my niece to read it to me. She enjoys it and it’s even resulted in her reading words to me without a request. I think that still constitutes summer reading, right?!

As she prepares to enter first grade, I’m starting to feel the pressure of the school year (mostly the homework every night part). To help her gain more confidence in her reading, I’ve tried to incorporate different methods of reading in the home. For starters, I always give her the responsibility of choosing the book she would like me to read. Sometimes she even requests to read the book herself and I allow her, even if the book choice is “ambitious.” Her favorite book to read at the moment is Sleepy Bird by Jeremy Tankard. She basically has it memorized but I encourage her to use different voices for all of the animals and use punctuation correctly. This helps make the reading more amusing and gives her and her younger brother the giggles. 

When we’re not sitting down to read a book, I use different tools (see picture above). I use a number of workbooks that help her practice sight words, sentence writing, and reading comprehension. These are fun 

alternatives before or after story time or even when we’re out at a restaurant waiting for our food – it helps beat the restlessness between ordering and waiting! My aunt recently gifted me with her daughter’s Bob books, which I thought was funny since I work at Scholastic and haven’t seen them since the 90s. I’ve found that these are great in teaching her how to look for context clues to help understand and read words that she cannot “sound out”.

I find that all of these tools combined have helped my niece realize that reading can be practiced any time, any place and it can always be fun! 

As we approach the new school year, my focus is independent reading and teaching her Spanish through text; I just hope she continues to enjoy our unorthodox reading practices!