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

Posts tagged ‘Joanne Kaminski’

Day 2 Begin Reading

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Today’s challenge is to simply start reading the book that you have chosen together. You may have already started doing this because your child was so excited. But, in case you didn’t there are some things to think about.

1. How to read the book
2. Commit to 30 minutes a day

First, you want to think about how you are going to read the book. Some kids like to read one page while the parent reads the other page. However, for some kids this is overwhelming. If this is the case, then I suggest that you switch off after each paragraph. This will give your child more breaks and make both of you feel less stressed out.

I highly suggest that you stay away from each of you switching off by chapters. I have noticed that kids seem to lose attention pretty quickly and that it is difficult to keep them on task.

The suggestions that you will get in the days to come will help with what to do if you notice that your child is off task. To begin with you shouldn’t notice that this is much of an issue because they are usually really excited to begin this process with a book that they have chosen with you.

Second, you want to make at least a 30 minute commitment to this activity each day. If the parent is reading half of the pages, then your child is reading for about 15-20 minutes. Children should read for at least 15 minutes a day. With summer and warm weather approaching, many children will feel tempted to play outside or play their video games instead of immersing themselves with a good book.

Studies have been done which correlate the number of minutes a child reads at home to SAT scores. Not so surprisingly, the children that read for the most minutes at home ended up with the highest scores. I am sure that there are other factors in place here with this study, but if the solution to high SAT scores was reading with your child for 30 minutes a night, wouldn’t it be worth it. Check out the results of a dad who made this commitment and this one girl’s success.

Happy reading!

Oh Canada, How I Love Canada

 

Can I just say that I love skyping to classes in Canada?  Well, whether I can or cannot, I will.  This week I was in Danielle Maley’s grade 1 and grade 2 class.  I learned that in Canada first and second grade do not exist as far as terminology goes and that it is referred to as grade 1 and grade 2.  I just love this age.  These kids have so much enthusiasm and zest for life.  You can see how engaged they are in the pictures that Mrs. Maley took. 

The first thing that we talked about was how far away from each other we are.  We found out that we are 1,000 miles away.  Then we got to the important stuff like what is your favorite book.  One little girl happened to say that her favorite books are Franklin books.  Since I just happened to have a Franklin book I dedicated my reading of Franklin’s Halloween to Georgia.  The kids did not mind at all that it was a little past Halloween.  They were just mesmerized by the entire experience because they had never skyped with someone in one of their classrooms before.  I had the wonderful opportunity to be their first.

After skyping with Canada I quickly came back to Wisconsin to work with an adult that has struggled with reading her whole life.  She happens to live in Wisconsin and is only 30 minutes away from me, but working via skype makes it so much easier.  Neither of us has to travel for an hour and we get to get more done than if we were in person. 

This new student has mentioned that Skype has completely changed her life.  The fact that she can now get help with reading and not have to leave the comfort of her home just astounds her.  She loves the convenience and the new tools that she learns with each session.  She is continuing to get better and better every day and she brightens my day with all of her insights. 

I love that I can spread positivity around the world via Skype and in my day to day life.  It is a blessing, a calling, and for me a way of life.

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.

How to Ask Questions to Increase Reading Comprehension

Snakes (M. C. Escher)

Image via Wikipedia

Why? Why? Why? Why? I watch a 4 year old in the afternoons and this is his absolute favorite question.  This isn’t the kind of question that I am referring to when asking questions to increase reading comprehension.

At the end of a story we are asked to answer some questions about what we just read.  But what if, instead of waiting till to end to find out if we understood what we read we used a self monitoring technique that helped us understand what we just read.

Yesterday, an amazing teacher with impeccable technology skills, Ms. Irene Kistler in San Antonio, Texas invited me into her classroom to enhance the students knowledge about snakes and incorporate the skill of asking questions when reading.  Her class was very knowledgeable about snakes and overall we all had a blast.

When teaching the strategy of asking questions, I always start with the first bit of information that I am given.  That is, the title.  The title is the best place to ask a question when I am reading non-fiction text.  Why you may ask?  Well, the whole book is about it so it gets us thinking about what might learn.  The title of our book yeasterday was Snakes, Long, Longer, Longest by Jerry Pallotta.  So I modeled  asking questions and came up with

  1. Which snake is the shortest?
  2. Which snake is the longest?

From that question the students made a prediction.  They were not sure about the shortest snake, but they thought possibly anacondas or the reticular pythons might be the longest.  The students that answered reticular pythons were correct.  Anacondas, by the way, are the fattest.  So our student that answered anacondas was not too far off.

As you continue reading your brain may automatically think of questions.  If this is you, then you are on your way to understanding what you are reading.  However, this may not be the case for you and you may need some guidance.  Before you begin reading check to see if your book has three pieces of information.

  1. Table of contents
  2. Glossary
  3. Index

These are the most natural places to build additional questions.  Turn each chapter in the table of contents into a question and write it down.  Next flip to the index and see the topics that will be taught in the book and turn some of these into questions.  Lastly, find the words in the glossary that you have never heard of before and turn that into a question.  What does ______ mean?  This will guide you as you are reading and make sure that you tune into the things that you do not know the answer to.  If you think you do know the answer, then when you are reading you get the joy of confirming whether what you thought you was correct is actually or learning new information that helps you understand something a little deeper.

It is amazing how many students I run into in the tutoring business that do not have enough exposure to non-fiction text.  I often hear that my child seems to read just fine, but has difficulty with reading comprehension.  The parents do not understand what to do.  Many times a student is reading on grade level with fiction text, but that is not the case with non-fiction text.  By teaching some of these simple strategies and putting them into action, you will be able to increase a student’s non-fiction reading comprehension level.  He/she needs to be taught how to think in a new way to retain the information that he/she is learning.

Thank you to Ms. Irene Kistler and her students in San Antonio, Texas for allowing me to come visit them in their classroom and do some learning with them.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time.

Hooked on Series in South Carolina

A photo of some Baseball Card Adventures books.

Image via Wikipedia

When you hear words like just right books, making predictions, asking questions, and author studies, then you know that you have entered a classroom where great first teaching is happening.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of reading a chapter of a book to a group of second graders in Ms. Witherspoon’s class in South Carolina.  These kids are so hyped on reading that they even started their own Magic Tree House book club.  How cool is that?

Once I heard that their favorite book series currently was the Magic School House Series, I knew that I could introduce them to another amazing author, Dan Gutman.  This man writes amazing books and one of his series is the Baseball Card Adventures.  The book that I shared with these students was Honus and Me.  This is a fiction book about Honus Wagner a great baseball player and how a very lucky boy ends up with his baseball card.  Not only does Honus come and visit the boy through the card, but also the boy gets to go back in time and see Honus play a real live game.

After I read the first chapter of this book, Ms. Witherspoon mentioned that she had this book in her classroom library.  She also had the book Jackie and Me.  So, the kids will have the opportunity to check out a new series and keep reading over the summer.

I love promoting reading over the summer and I have a special philosophy.  If you hook a kid on a series then you can hook them onto reading for life.  Sometimes that is all it takes.  Ms. Witherspoon has hooked her kids on great books and they will definitely be reading over the summer.

Is Summer Learning Loss in Reading a Concern for you?

Our children work so hard over the school year, there has to be some time for fun in the summer, right?  Absolutely!  However, we also have to make sure that summer time, fun time, and learning time make a connection.  The number one question I get asked all of the time is what should I do to make sure my child doesn’t have a summer learning loss in Reading.

Most people would think that it is to just read.  Fair enough, but we also want to make sure that they are having fun and there are a ton of ways to motivate kids to read in the summer.  One way is to join a summer enrichment program at your local library.  Your child will be rewarded for reading books and be given prizes and tickets to local fun places. The local library will also have fun programs that your child can take part in and grade level appropriate book clubs.

Another place that you can log your reading minutes for fun is Scholastic’s Read for the World Record.  Last year students all over the world read for 4,031,939 minutes.  I like that kids are working together to beat the world record.  Schools that work together for this goal get featured in the 2012 Scholastic Book of World Records.

PBS Kids also has a summer reading challenge.  If you submit your e-mail they will give you great tips over the summer to keep your child reading.

Why read over the summer?  Is it really that important?  Yes, it is.  Did you know that 50-67% of the achievement gap is due to “summer reading loss”?  Reading over the summer has proven to be a prevention to summer reading loss.  Students who choose not read or are not guided/motivated to over the summer are two years behind their classmates by the time they enter 6th grade.  In this day and age with budget cuts, schools do not have the resources to provide reading interventions for all of the students that are behind.  Thank goodness there are useful tutoring companies out there that can help.

It is great to know that in this wonderful day and age that students do not just have to read chapter books in order for reading to count.  Students can immerse themselves with a variety of different sources for their reading pleasure.  For example, kids can read

  • magazines
  • e-books
  • Recorded books
  • Graphic novels
  • Blogs
  • Author Websites
  • Recipes
  • Science experiements

Choice is a huge influence in motivating children to read, so the more choices they have the better.  Never make it seem like your child needs to read, just present the opportunities for them to read.  As a parent one of the things that I do is go to rummage sales, pick out books that I know my kids will like and put them on their bed as a little surprise.  The other day my daughter picked up one of these books and started reading it.  She is on the final chapter.

Keep your kids reading and enjoy the summer with the most precious people in your world. For some additional ideas listen to Joanne Kaminski on the Total Education Show.


Total Education Show Parent Experts Ask Questions 05/12 by Total Tutor | Blog Talk Radio.

Reading On Grade Level in 3rd Grade: How is it related to high School performance and College Enrollments

Graduating seniors at Brown University in Prov...

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A new study has just been released that talks about the importance of reading at the proficient level by the end of 3rd grade.  You can access it hereReading on Grade Level in Third Grade: How is it Related to High School Performance and College Enrollment.  Basically the study began in 1996 and 1997 and tracked students all the way to college to see if reading levels could determine success in High School and College.  The answer to this question was definitely yes.  For whatever reasons, if a child is able to read on grade level or above by the end of third grade, they he/she will lead a higher quality life.  Isn’t this what we want for all of our students?

This is why I am so blessed to help these kids out when they need it.  As many of you know I just began working with a little girl in Australia and after 3 sessions she has already made remarkable progress.  Her mom IM’d me last night with this message,

Hi Joanne just had the most satisfing experience… Brooklyn is reading to her brother… Jack and the beanstalk… one thing she has never just picked up a book before and read it herself or been able to… she is not struggling ..she is able to read it with minamal help… wow I am too happy for words… after three sessions she is on the road to success THANK YOU…before the end of the year I can see with your help she will be up with or better than her class mates…wowohoo

This child is exactly the type of student that could have problems later on in life because of her reading level, but her mom decided to intervene and get her the help exactly when she needed it.  Brooklyn is in 2nd grade and making great gains.  As a result, she will be able to have a higher success rate later on in life. 

I had the opportunity to talk about some things that parents could do on the Total Education Network before intervention would be needed.  I give examples of games and activities that parents can play with their children.  However, if you have already tried these things and they just havn’t worked and you are out of ideas, then the wonderful news is that there are people who can help.  Getting help at the right time is pivotal to your child’s success.  Thanks for reading and listen to the tips on the Total Education Network.

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