Have you ever asked your child about what they are reading only to receive a vague response? You know they have been reading – they ask about a word and occasionally turn pages. At least, it looks like reading. But when they aren’t understanding or remembering what they’ve read, what do you do? Do you have to read everything your child is reading (for every child, 4 readers so far!) to know what they are talking about? I’d love to, but there are only so many hours in the day. They shouldn’t have to wait on me!
The right tools can not only help your child to develop their comprehension, but keep you from reading their books (in addition to everything else a busy mom does). One such tool is READS Parent/Child Reading Comprehension System. READS (Really Easy And Dynamic Strategies) was developed by a reading specialist and comes from EGM Educational Systems, LLC. Elaine Meyers, the certified reading specialist behind the READS system, couldn’t find a program that worked for both children and parents, so she created her own. Parents and children everywhere (or at least in our house) thank her.
One of the great things I first noticed when we began using the READS system, is that it works with anything my children want to read. The two children I focused on were my 1st grade son (emerging reader) and his 4th grade sister (a little behind her age, but enjoys reading). I had noticed that despite spending a lot of time reading chapter after chapter, and narrating each day, my daughter still wasn’t really comprehending what she was reading. She was missing the overall flow of the story and the bigger picture. My son is just barely reading on his own, but I want to develop good habits and strong skills. The tools that come with the READS system are great for both of them. The intended users are children at or below their reading level in first through fourth grades.
My children were first drawn to the colorful materials. The reward chart and stickers have the right mix of cute without looking girly or babyish. The sturdy question cards are 3″ x 5″. The cards are kept on a ring that easily opens to remove and assign a card to your reader (or let them choose their own) or keep them hanging on a hook in the kitchen. There are 30 numbered cards in all with questions ranging from “Describe your favorite character.” to “Make a connection between something you read and something you already knew.” The graphic on each card illustrates what is being asked. On card #30, your reader is asked to give an example of a simile. They are then instructed to ask their “Go-To Grown-Up” to give another example. I’m sure I’m not the only one to get similes and metaphors mixed up, right? The graphic has “like” and “as” right there on balloons. Whew! Now I don’t look clueless.
My son claimed the “magic finger” as his right off the bat. We don’t call it a magic finger, but simply “the pointer”. Whenever he was using that pointer, he was in “serious reading mode”. I think it looks icky. He loves it! – the creepy red “fingernail” inching along below each letter as he sounds out new words. His 10 year old sister preferred the reading guide strip. “It looks more grown-up” she shared “and it can be a bookmark, too”. It worked at keeping her place in the often busier pages of chapter books. When the page looks like it is full of too many letters, that can intimidate a reader of any skill.
These tools worked with all the different books that my children choose to read. Fiction or non-fiction; picture book or chapter book; whatever book sparked their interest
we they read it. A Star Wars leveled reader for the 7 year old boy? No problem! The 12 chapter, 150+ page novel of an Amish girl the 10 year old chose? Perfect! I didn’t have to read either one, but could still have helpful conversations about each one. The tools and strategies from the Parent’s Manual were helpful in going beyond the simple narration we have been doing. I love the critical thinking skills being developed, too!
The Speedy Speller booklet is a good reference tool that your child can customize with words they encounter. In addition to the 1000+ words included, there are lines to add more. I appreciate that these lines are a bit further apart than the lists printed on the page. My children can take a whole page to write a few letters if given the chance.
This reading comprehension system comes with five components in a reusable storage pouch for $19.95. For additional children, you just need the READS ABM (that’s All But the Manual) for $17.95 (and really, that is everything from the main kit except the Parent’s Manual). You can also purchase some of the items individually.
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