Building Literacy at Home

At the end of April, all New York state students in grades 3-8 are tested in English Language Arts (reading, listening, and writing).  The tests include reading with multiple choice questions, listening and writing tasks, as well as reading and writing tasks.  Throughout the school year, our teachers instruct their students in the essential components of literacy.  Here’s how you can support your child’s literacy at home:



➞ When you are reading with your child, together share your ideas about what you read: 

  -your reaction to a character event, or information 

  -what you wonder or predict

  -connections that you make to personal  experiences or other books


➞ Ask thought-provoking questions, rather than literal questions.   For example, ask, “What does this part of the reading make you think about?”  “What do you think that author wants you to learn?”


Word Identification

When your child comes to a word that he/she does not know, prompt your child to:


➞ Read through the whole word by tapping out the sounds and putting them back together.  For example, tap c-a-t; then say it fast, cat.  Tap sch-oo-l; say it fast, school.


➞  Chunk the word into parts and put the parts back together.  For example, doorbell = door + bell; reading = read + ing; untie = un + tie.


➞ Skip the word and read the rest of the sentence.  Stop and think to determine a word that would make sense in the sentence and that matches the beginning, middle, and ending letter sounds.


Vocabulary Development

➞ Enjoy reading frequently to your child, and have your child read to you.


➞ Talk about the meaning of interesting words or words that have more than one meaning.   Model the use of sophisticated words and encourage your child to use these words, too.   Children love to use new and vivid vocabulary.


➞ When your child is reading and comes to a word that he/she does not know, have him/her read the sentence or paragraph that contains the word.  Help your child to identify the context clues and letter-sound clues that will help to determine the meaning.


Emilie Buchwald, children’s author, reminds us, “Children become readers on the laps of their parents.” Enjoy your time reading together during the April break and all year long!

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