Letter to Parents: Reading

*Dear Parents,
I am excited to be serving as your child’s reading teacher for the 2013-2014 school
year. The size of our class will provide ample opportunity for your child to have very
specific instruction suited to their needs, and opportunities not always available in larger
classes to practice specific skills. Our room will be a place of dedicated learning with the
goal being that your child continues to make the progress of which she or he is capable.
It may appear to be obvious, but one of the most important things we know about
how children learn to read is that children who read the most tend to be the best readers.
The more you read the better reader you become. For this reason I am asking that you take
a few minutes (15-20 would be great) each day to read to or with your child.
The time you give to reading will allow your child to practice reading strategies and
skills he or she will be learning here at school. More important, however, is the message
you will send to your child. Through your actions you will say that reading is important in
your life and in your child’s life and that you want him or her to become the best reader
You can read to or with your child in many ways. Here are a few suggestions:
 When reading to your child, choose material that allows you to use an
expressive voice and/or evokes mental images or invites discussion.
 Read together. Side by side, read aloud together a story that your child has
chosen. Let your voices blend together to create a real partnership in reading. If
your child can read a section on his or her own without trouble, let your voice
fade. On those sections that challenge your child, let your voice lead the way by
reading slightly louder and ahead of your child. This has proven to be a superb
way to improve children’s reading.
 Echo reading. Allow your child to read back, phrase for phrase, a short text that
you read to him or her.
 Alternate reading. Switch who does the reading after every page or paragraph.
 Repeat reading. Read a short story or poem to your child. Read the passage
several times, if you like, over several days. Then allow your child to read the
passage to you.
 When reading textbooks or content area materials, help your child navigate the
text by identifying text features such as headings, bolded words, captions, and
vocabulary definitions.
 Spend your time together reading quietly, each reading material of your own
choosing. Although your child may be reading on his or her own, the fact that
you are in the same room reading sends a strong message to your child about
the importance of reading.
Try to read with your child every day. Develop a routine for reading that will last a
lifetime. Be sure to praise your child for good reading. And when he or she struggles over a
word or phrase while reading, simply say the unknown word and continue. Don’t make a
lesson out of every mistake. You can always go back to the word after you’ve read. Finally,
don’t just read – talk about the stories you read together and discuss your own reading
habits and interests with your child. He or she needs to know that reading is an important
part of everyday life.
Reading class will include a variety of instructional strategies to meet struggling
readers’ needs. We will review and practice strategies of successful readers. Students will
have opportunities to practice these strategies in class interacting with a variety of textual
materials and at home in weekly homework assignments.
In addition, in support of continued progress it is best if your child comes prepared
to school each day with the basic materials (pencils, paper) and the work required to
engage fully in classroom learning and discussion.
Thank you for your help in making this year a successful one for your child in
reading. Working together, we can help your child become a successful and lifelong reader.
Ben Lebofsky
Reading Teacher
2013-2014 school year
*adapted from Rasinski, Padak, and Fawcett’s Teaching Children Who Find Reading Difficult