The first set of school closings, stay-at-home orders and the like due to
COVID-19 all came down the pipeline very quickly, without a lot of time to prepare or figure out what the next steps should be. As a result, particularly for those of us who are on social media, we started to become inundated with resources – here's a free website for math, print out these worksheets here, free virtual trips over there.
Now for me, coupling that with trying to simply figure out the logistics of it all, it became overwhelming very fast. I wanted to make sure my children were adjusting to our new normal of learning at home as best as they could, without pulling my hair out. After a few days, I made the decision to stop clicking on every single free resource that I saw and started thinking about the big picture when it came to continuing my kids' education while they are learning at home, particularly when it came to reading.
This is what I know: ultimately, among a number of other things, teachers work hard during the year to help our children either learn how to read or to help them find reading an enjoyable activity. I knew that I wanted to try to continue those big ideas as a piece of our remote learning, along with whatever assignments their teachers may give. Here are a couple of ideas that I have found helpful in my efforts to keep the big picture of learning going, all while attempting to maintain sanity.
First, having your child reread books is fine. Personally, I didn't do that until I became an adult, but when I did, I immediately saw the benefits of it. For a child who is still learning to read, this type of repeated reading can be very helpful to a child's progress with fluency, or the ability to read easily and accurately. There are still benefits, even if it's a book your child has recently read. When anyone rereads a book, there are things that may be mere noticeable the second or third time through. A child might see things in the illustrations or clues in the plot they didn't notice before, which can be exciting for them, but also gives them a better understanding of the book, helping with their comprehension.
At a time when we're unable to go to the library and the bookstore isn't open, for some kids, getting comfortable with rereading can become necessary. Additionally, rereading can help with my second idea – having your child do some "after-reading" activities.
After-reading activities don't have to be restricted to writing a book report. You could have your child write or draw a new ending to the book, draw a favorite character, give the book a new title or even start writing a sequel to the book. Writing a book review or recommendation to give to a friend is also a great activity after finishing a book. Any of these types of activities that help to show that they understood the book they read will help strengthen their comprehension, but can also tap into their creative skills as well.
While in these unprecedented times, we have all been making constant adjustments. Hopefully some of these activities can help fit into a routine that works well for your family and keeps the reading going.
Deana Metzke is a wife, mom of two, blogger and book lover who is trying her best to raise children who will enjoy reading long after she's gone. She is a literacy coach at a Springfield elementary school. You can find her talking about children's books on Twitter at @DMetzke or on her blog, raisingreaders.site.