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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Should reading with parents count?

April 2, 2008

I blogged about reading logs back in August, when Molly was just getting started with a daily homework assignment to read and respond every day after school. The title of that post, Reading Logs, Reading Blahs pretty much sums up the way I feel about reading logs. Your comments on that post suggest that many of you feel the same way!

And there was this comment from Ask the Expert:

At our school, children in each grade are required to do a minimum daily independent reading time, starting in first grade. Anything a parent reads to his child doesn't count.

The author went on to say that she dislikes that policy. "I believe it is counterproductive, especially for children struggling with reading or who don't like to read."

I couldn't agree more — for a school to make a rule that books read to a child shouldn't "count" towards reading logs is just plain wrong! Am I right?! Regardless of the level of the reader, there is always benefit to a parent read aloud. I think that time should count.

What do you think? What are your recommendations for schools policies on reading as a homework?

Comments

At my school, reading with parents absolutely counts. For some children, that's their favorite aspect of the reading time - time with their parents! It motivates the children to take the time, makes it pleasurable, helps them see parents as readers, gives them opportunity to discuss their reading and ask questions, and it gives parents an opportunity monitor their child's progress and feel empowered to do something to be involved in their child's education. In the perfect world, reading with parents AND reading alone would both happen, but this isn't the reality. This policy would just ensure that fewer of our students completed any at-home reading.

In a time when we can't do enough to get parents involved, it's hard to imagine that a school wouldn't see the benefits of including the time a student reads with the adult at home. Reading is making meaning from words. Isn't a child still doing that as they listen to someone else reading?

At my children's school, reading with parents counts on the log and is very much encouraged.

Joanne,I am a retired teacher and grandmother of two boys. When my daughter works as a nurse, I am in charge of taking care of my grandsons. Since the older one is in first grade, this includes helping with homework. Yes, I definitely feel that reading with him should count. We also draw pictures together and write sentences about the pictures. We take turns writing the sentences. He does not like to do homework, so it is a bit of a challenge. I am glad that you made a comment on my blog so I could find yours. I do use a lot of the tips I find on Reading Rockets when working with my grandsons. Thanks again, Betty

I know last time I commented on a post I wrote about Emma Walton Hamilton, and I apologize, but I'm going to do it again :O)In her book she talks about how there has been a decline in reading in the last 50 years, and how that could be because of the technology age, but how it seems to be something more hidden and secretive...that when we are young we have a subliminal connection between reading and love and joy and comfort because of sitting on our parents lap and reading with them while cuddling, or while nursing, or eating a snack, or whatever and that connection between reading and all things warm and fuzzy is made...and then we get into school and we start to transition from reading together to reading alone, and sometimes that is a hard transition for some children, and they may struggle with reading...and when they are called upon in class to read aloud and can't do it well, or messes up and people laugh, or they get huge reading assignments each night from a book that they don't really like or aren't interested in, and then that starts to build the connection between reading and chore, and reading and frustration, and reading and work...and then some kids tend to stray away from books.So I definitely 100% disagree with that rule that when it is read aloud it doesn't count...Emma also says in her book "Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure & Empowerment" (www.raisingbookworms.com) that a kid is never to young or too old to be read to...and I really believe that's true, I remember being in college and having huge reading assignments and I would read some by myself, and then my mom would read some to me aloud. I also have a 19 mo old and she has loved books since she was about 3 mo. old...I believe that is what has made her so advanced...she was walking independently by 8 mo. old, she knows and can sign about 50 different American Sign Language signs, she has a huge vocabulary and speaks complete sentences (the other night we were at a restaurant and there was a baby crying and she said "Mommy, Daddy, the baby is sad" and I said why is the baby sad Amiah? And she said "The baby wants mommy") and I really contribute that to the fact that she loves to be read to and loves to "read" on her own.

Jessica,Thanks for the comment! That sounds like a book worth reading. And I agree, reading with parents should DEFINITELY count!

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