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Read With You Presents: Jen Crook

Listen to the podcast here.


Jen Crook is a mother of 4. She studied early childhood education. Jen works with children who are 1-3 grade levels behind in small reading groups. These kids are from a variety of backgrounds.

Jen tells how her young daughter did not have a lot of verbal language, but one day she saw her moving letter magnets around on the fridge and naming the letters to make words. She was amazed! About this experience she said, “We read to her a lot. I really felt very strongly- I’d had lots of literacy classes as an early childhood education major and we really felt strongly that that was the key and foundation to all learning, even though we were busy parents and we were both in school, even if I was reading to her from my textbook, as an infant, she just got read to a lot.”

On her job, and seeing the children in school struggling with reading, Jen said, “This really opened my eyes to the importance of reading to children…most of the parents are genuinely worried…and the bottom line is just read. Read with them, read to them, put an audio book on in the car.”

“Modeling is probably the best thing you can do. When a child is being read to, especially if you’re sitting next to them and holding a book, if you’re modeling and you’re showing them that someone is talking to someone else, and that happens within quotation marks, that teaches them that that’s a conversation. It’s modeling what that looks like. When you raise your voice at the end of a sentence because it has a question mark, that’s modeling. They will get to hear and know what that means, probably before they even go to school.”

Running your finger from left to right will help your child to understand the direction we are reading in

Parents don’t have to know all the rules

Just by pointing out the words you are reading, kids will pick up on it a lot faster than you think they will.

Apps can’t replace sitting with your child with a book.

Start when your child is young and those sight words will start coming faster and faster.

Comprehension is more important that fluency.

If you can’t read, you can’t do common core math.

If your child is struggling, slow them down.

Break the word down into syllables, read the parts that you do know. Then put them together by blending the pieces.

Speed will come when some of those foundational skills are met.

Parents need to advocate for your child

Try not to get overwhelmed by the information that’s on the internet. Go back to the basics. Make reading fun.

Reading is supposed to be enjoyable. If a child isn’t getting to experience that because the task is too overwhelming, maybe we have too difficult a book, or maybe we just need to read to them. Eventually that desire will come from them.

Reading is supposed to be fun! The rest will come!

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