Find out where in the world the Skyping Reading Tutor is. The skyping reading tutor volunteers in classrooms by reading books and motivating them to read. The Skyping Reading Tutor also has her own online reading tutoring company www.theskypingreadingtutor.com

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Day 11: Question Marks

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On day 7 we took a look improving fluency and specifically at stopping appropriately at periods and commas. Today we are going to focus on what to do with question marks. If this particular strategy isn’t something that your child struggles with, then you can simply focus on the information from the previous days.

When we read we know that our voice goes up and down very naturally. We don’t need any instruction in this, it just happens. However, when we are reading, many times a child will look at a question mark and keep a monotone voice and read it like a period. Their voice doesn’t change, and it is really hard to tell as the listener that there was a question asked because not making our voice go up and down actually changes the meaning of what we are reading.

When I am teaching kids reading online I am able to highlight the books with two different colors very easily. I highlight the words that go up as green and the words that go down as red. Then when I am done I have the kids take a look at exactly where my voice was going up and down. This visual actual helps kids to see their voice in a different way.

After we analyze what happens with their voice we go over when the voice is particularly going up and going down. Then the child gets to practice making their own voice go up and down. It is a powerful strategy and it ultimately leads to better comprehension.

If you own the book, then you can mark it up all you want to help your child with this, however, if you don’t own it you are aware that would be a very bad move. That is why I love using ebooks with kids online. I can mark up the text to guide them without getting in their space or ruining a great book.

Once your child’s voice has improved in fluency, you will notice how much more interesting it is to listen to him or her read. It also increases their own personal motivation to want to read. Let me know if you have any questions. I would love to guide you in how I do this.

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Day 5 Three Questions

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Welcome to day 5. Has your summer been as jam packed as mine? Well, I hope along with reading that you and your children are able to also have lots of fun. Today we are going to be taking a look at the three types of errors that kids typically make when they are reading and come up with some questions that can help them fix their errors on their own. Just like in the try again strategy, you want to get your child to be responsible for correcting his/her own reading errors. If you do it for the child, then you become the strategy called ask a parent instead of encouraging the child to figure it out.

The three magic questions are
1. Does it look right?
2. Does it sound right?
3. Does it make sense.

There are also three specific times that you ask these questions. Let’s take a look at an example of does it look right.

Child: “It dumped into Rani and Brother Dove.”

Parent: “Does that look right?” (Parent points to the word dumped.)

Child: “Oh, I meant bumped.”

In this example the child fixed her error immediately upon the question being asked. Many times kids will flip b’s and d’s. However, when they read it in context for a second time he/she is able to usually fix it.

The second question is does that sound right. The purpose of this question is to focus the child’s attention to sentence structure. Often times children will read the way that they speak and not notice the way that it was actually written. Also, kids will make tons of errors on the little words, inserting a different little word in it’s place. For example,

Child: “It took off his mask.”
Parent: Does that sound right?
Child: “Not really.”
Parent: “Try Again.”
Child: “He took off his mask.”

Parent: “Great, you fixed it yourself.”

Notice how it would not be grammatically correct with his in the sentence. The point of the question is not to be nit picky, but rather get the child to correct his/her own errors.

The last qustion is does that make sense. This question promotes the reader to make sense of what he/she is reading. Here is an example.

Child: “I am always the lion wolf.”
Parent: “Does that make sense?”
Child: “No”
Parent: “Try again.”
Child: “I am always the lone wolf.”
Parent: “Does that make sense?”
Child: “Yes.”
Parent: “Excellent, keep going.”

In this example, lion instead of lone does not make sense. It kind of looks like lion. It begins the same and it ends in the same sound, but it does not make sense. If reading does not make sense, then kids can develop comprehension problems and a low motivation to want to read independently.

When it comes to reading, the goal always needs to be to foster independence. Often times in our busy lives it is much easier to fix the mistake for the child, but this is not really helping him/her reach the goal of fixing the mistakes on his/her own. Odds are, that when he/she comes to a word on his/her own and get’s it wrong, then he/she will just keep reading and it will effect his/her overall comprehension.

 

Day 3 Try Again

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Today you are going to begin some powerful strategies that put the learning in your child’s hands instead of in yours. I have personally found that when I tell a child how to say a word, some of the really great readers might remember it next time, but the kids that struggle with reading rarely do.

So if telling the child the word is not helpful, then sounding it out must be the next best strategy. Not all words can be sounded out, so I am pretty picky about when I suggest this strategy.

The very first strategy I use with kids is simply to say try again. I want to give them an opportunity to use whatever strategy is going to work for him or her. Many times I will wait till the end of the sentence and give them their own opportunity to fix the mistake. That is ultimately what I want to instill in them anyways. I want them to think to themselves, “Hmm, that didn’t make sense. Let me try that again.”

At this point after you have suggested your child to try it again and they do not get the word correct, just go ahead and tell them the word. As time goes on you are going to learn some additional skills that will help in this area.

 

31 Days to a Better Reader

Everyone wants to make sure that the children in their life are able to read easily and effortlessly.

No parent or teacher ever thinks, “Gosh I  hope that my child will struggle with reading.  It sure would add a lot of adversity to their life.”  Therefore, we always want to be able to do everything that we absolutely can to make sure that kids have the tools that they need to do the very best that they are capable of doing.

In this information age it is pivotal that children be able to read.  There isn’t anything that they will partake in that will not include reading.  We all know that, but sometimes it is hard to convince kids who don’t actually enjoy reading to understand it’s importance.  Who wants to do something that is either hard or boring.

Over the next 31 days you are going to get tips and tricks that will turn any child into a better reader.  Are you ready for a challenge that will motivate your child, build bonding time with your child, and help him or her with reading all at the same time?  This is the perfect time for this challenge.  The time is NOW!  Whether your child already loves to read or doesn’t, they can always become better.

My name is Joanne Kaminski and I am also known as the Skyping Reading Tutor.  I have been teaching kids to read for over 10 years, have a Masters in Reading and have starting my own reading tutoring company called Bright IDEA Reading Tutoring.  The tips and tricks that you will learn are based off of my own experiences of what works best with kids.  I utilize brain research and how kids learn best and actually retain the information that they are learning.

Tomorrow starts day 1 of the challenge.  Subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss one single day of this challenge and turn your loved little ones into SUPERSTAR Readers.

Soccer Practice: Please Show Passport

Imagine this, it is time to bring your child to soccer or football practice.  You pack all of your clothes, equipment, and get everyone settled into the car.  You begin driving and forget to bring your passport.  So, you go back home, grab your passport and cross the border to get your child to practice on time.

This may sound far fetched to many of you, but it is reality for the children in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Last week I got to hang out in Ms. Elder’s class and she was explaining that many of her students have sports practices in Montana.  I was extremely interested in this, especially since I already knew she lived in Canada and that the class I was specifically talking with was in Canada.  To them it did not sound like a big deal, but to many of us who have never experienced that it is fascinating.

This is one of the reasons that I love volunteering in classrooms all over the world and reading to them.  I love learning and I love learning about different people and the way that they do things.

Ms. Elder and I met last year via Twitter and I was able to read to her class then.  She does a looping grade 1 and grade 2 split.  So some of the students had recognized me from last year.  It was really cool to pop into their classroom and have many of them recognize me.  One little boy said, “I know you”.  It was really sweet.

Ms. Elder asked me to share my favorite story with the class.  For me, my absolute favorite story is Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.   However, I do not have an ebook version yet to share with the children, so I decided to go with my second favorite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Ironically, the class had just taken down their Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and they were absolutely thrilled that I chose that book out of all of the books in the world to read to them.

I have read this book to several children all over the world and it seems to be a hands down favorite.  What are some of your favorite books to read with children?  I would love to know.

Watch this clip from a past reading of the book to a group of students in North Carolina.

The Skyping Reading Tutor In Kernersville, North Carolina

When I was in the school system as a reading specialist I started my day reading a story to the entire school on the morning news.  It was a wonderful way to start off our day.  Today I get to do something very similar and that is volunteer in classrooms all over the world and read stories to classrooms.

Today I had the pleasure of reading to a group of Kindergarten students in Kernersville, North Carolina.  It is such a pleasure to meet so many bright smiling faces early in the morning.  I love it.  My own children had just gotten on the bus and these kids were already at school ready for their day. They were all seated patiently at the carpet waiting for me to come into their classroom.

They were amazed that we were talking to each other and were 815 miles away from each other.  Some of them had experience with talking to people via Skype and many others had not.  One little boy shared with me that he gets to talk to his Grandpa in Mexico via Skype.  That is the beautiful thing about Skype.  Never has there ever existed a way to talk to people far away without paying a ton of money.  Now, not only do people get to talk to love ones, but they can see them as well.

Today I read the story Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey.  It was very exciting because Halloween is right around the corner and many of the children in the classroom are experiencing the same dilemma that Dragon was experiencing.   Dragon was trying to pick out a Halloween costume but couldn’t decide which one he wanted to be.  So, he decided to wear them all.  It didn’t work out so well for Dragon, but of course it had a wonderful ending.  I love this chapter so much that I am going to share it with you as well.  Click on the video and enjoy.

 

Where to Get Great Books for Summer Reading

The manga section at Barnes & Noble in Colma, ...

Image via Wikipedia

Every Thursday the Skyping Reading Tutor, Joanne Kaminski, is a parenting expert on a blog talk radio show called the Total Education Hour.  I have an entire week to think of a great question.  My question this week was, where can you find great books to read for your children over the summer.

There are so many fantastic places to go to get great books and I am going to list my top ten here.  My first suggestion is to take a look at the summer reading list that your school or current teacher may give you.  This will give you a good starting point of books to look for.  Once you have that list you can go to the following places to get them.

  1. The library – Who can beat free?  Some libraries are connected with other local libraries and all you have to do is go to your computer, request the book, they call you when it is ready, and you pick it up.
  2. School library – many school libraries are open in the summer and allow you to check out books.
  3. Ebooks – Reading an e-book doesn’t feel the same as reading a regular book and some kids enjoy this.  Many books come for free in an ebook format.  Check it out.
  4. Local Bookstore – Support your local bookstore.  These wonderful little treasures are becoming less and less due to bigger stores like Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
  5. Bookswap with a friend – have your child make a list of all of the books that he/she has and switch lists with a friend.  The kids can recommend books to each other and enjoy books for free.
  6. Bookswap online – These are great fun.  If you list 10 books you get free credits.  People start asking you to send books to them and all you pay is media shipping, which is less than regular shipping.  Whenever you want a book, type in the title and see if one of the members has it.  It is as easy as that.
  7. Rummage sales – you will always find bestsellers at rummage sales because that is what people are reading.
  8. Goodwill – Many people just donate their books to the Goodwill.  Check out their selection.
  9. Amazon – I usually try looking for books in all of the other places first and if I can’t find there, then I go to Amazon, put it in my shopping cart and pay for my books after I have reached the $25 mark.  I rarely need a book immediately and it is always a sweet surprise to see what I have selected when I reach the point to purchase.

Enjoy this great tool for where to get great books for the summer for your child (or yourself).  Happy Reading and listen to The Total Education Network.

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