(Click for the Complete Online Parent Reading Guide)
How is success measured?
It seems simple enough to say a child needs to learn how to read, doesn’t it? But what exactly does that mean? To a parent, it may mean reading well enough to get through school successfully. To a teacher, it may mean measuring a child’s reading skill with a test to see whether or not she is reading at her grade level. To a child, these far-reaching goals may simply sound overwhelming, especially if she is struggling with reading.
Breaking it down
Sometimes, when a distant goal feels overwhelming or unreachable, a child will simply stop trying to reach it. She may say to herself, “I can’t read as well as my classmates, and I never will.” Or, “No matter how hard I try, I never get a very good grade on the reading test.”
Impossible goals are just that – impossible. But what if you could break your child’s progress into more manageable steps for her? What if by achieving smaller goals, she was ultimately able to reach some much bigger ones? That’s where goal-setting comes in. By setting small, achievable goals, your child will feel less frustrated. She will see that what she is aiming for really is within reach. She will also be able to look back and track her success. Seeing how far she has come will motivate her to keep trying.
There’s an added bonus to setting reading goals if your child is very reluctant to read. Once she’s done a little brainstorming, she may be pleasantly surprised. She may find out that reading goals aren’t just something her parents and her teacher want for her but something she wants, too. After all, she may realize that it’s pretty cool to be able to read a comic book all by herself.
Set some reading goals
Below is a place for you to write down your reading goals for your child. You may already have some pretty clear ideas about what you hope your child will be able to achieve. Try to state them in a very concrete way. Instead of writing, “My child will read well,” write, “My child will read one history lesson without too much help.” Try to make sure to choose short-term goals that can be clearly measured – “My child will read two pages from a grade-level book,” for instance.
Your child may need some help coming up with her own reading goals. To make the most of your goal-setting session, choose a time when you can both sit quietly at the kitchen table and do some real brainstorming. At first, jot down any ideas that she comes up with on a blank piece of paper. Some of them may sound silly and some may not even be practical; just jot them all down for now.
If your child can’t come up with any ideas, you may need to make some suggestions. These could include things like, “I will read a text from Aunt Liz,” or “I will read one of the books my teacher has in the classroom library.” If reading is very difficult for your child, make the goals even smaller. Choose things like, “I will read five of the words on my spelling list,” or “I will read one page in my ‘Winnie the Pooh’ book all by myself.”
My reading goals for my child (parent or guardian):
My reading goals (child):
Plan on revisiting this list in a month or two. You might be surprised at how far your child has come! Check off any of them that have been reached. Then, pick a new list of reachable reading goals.