ThinkStretch is proud to introduce a new feature for Kindergarten through 2nd grade students summer review books that encourages parents and children to discuss the weekly reading activities. “Talk to Me!” offers simple topics in each weekly lesson that help parents to build reading comprehension skills in elementary school students. The activities reinforce vital reading concepts, such as retelling, predicting events, and strong vocabulary.
As a parent, it often feels like enough just to check off the reading log for 20 minutes everyday. However, talking about what you and your child are reading together is just as important as the reading. As a teacher, modeling for parents how to talk with their child about reading at home can be a challenge.
I reflected back on my pre-school and lower elementary experiences, in the classroom and at home, and realized that direct instructions often worked best for me and my kids. I developed the “Talk to Me” feature initially for our Pre-K to K books to help build vocabulary between parent and child. The “Talk to Me” feature is rooted in education research which demonstrates a strong relationship between an increased number of words spoken in the home, between parent and child, and a child’s vocabulary and reading performance.
The Pre-K heading to K ThinkStretch Summer Learning book was a tremendous success. Chuck Culpepper, Director of Curriculum and Assessment at West Bloomfield Hills Public Schools, encouraged me to take the next step and integrate the “Talk to Me” feature across the entire elementary series of ThinkStretch books.
Mr. Culpepper’s suggestion dovetailed nicely with the latest research from the National Center for Summer Learning. The study highlights the importance of scaffolding comprehension skills with weekly reading over the summer to maintain reading proficiency. In the home over the summer, parents are the educators who are responsible for “scaffolding comprehension skills.” That is a tall order for many families.
Breaking down the key comprehension skills that the Common Core State Standards are emphasizing by grade level provided an outline for the “Talk to Me” feature. From there, I spoke with parents, wrote several “Talk to Me” prompts and tested them with parents and kids.
Ranging from word recognition to story re-telling, the “Talk to Me” prompts are developmentally appropriate, fun for parent and child, and successfully help parents “scaffold comprehension.” An example of a kindergarten “Talk to Me” feature from Week 2 is “Rhyming words are common in books for kindergartners. Ask your child to find 5 pairs of rhyming words in a story. Can you make up 5 pairs of rhyming words together?”
As the child advances in grade levels, the “Talk to Me” feature expands. From Week 3 in the 2nd heading to 3rd grade ThinkStretch Summer Learning book, the “Talk to Me” prompt asks: “Ask your child to tell you what is going to happen next in the book. Write down the prediction. When the book is completed, look at what you wrote down and talk together about your prediction.”
I am excited to hear your feedback on the reactions of teachers, parents and administrators to the “Talk to Me” feature – let us know what you think by leaving us a comment. ThinkStretch and I are excited to maintain an open dialogue to build our partnership in education.