Improving Your Child’s Thinking Skills
Reading with your child is like a magic vitamin that’s jam-packed with nutrients for the brain. Find time each day to read with your child. Savor it. Feel confident that reading together is the epitome of quality time.
Reading with your child means increased thinking skills.
Something so enjoyable can also:
Improve comprehension skills with Amelia Bedelia books.
- Improve listening skills
- Teach children how stories are constructed
- Give children chances to hear language patterns and words that are not part of their everyday life
- Develop their imagination
- Expand knowledge of people and ideas from around the world
- Introduce new vocabulary and concepts
- Teach facts and information
- Introduce healthy problem-solving strategies
- Teach decoding and other literacy skills
- Improve memory retention
Your children may sometimes look at the world literally—the way Amelia Bedelia does. But when kids read about something she does that is particularly silly, they will tell you (as they are laughing) that she only did exactly what she was told to do.
Aha! A natural teaching moment. Language can be a tricky thing. Reading isn’t always easy. But, thinking skills increase when kids immerse themselves in wonderful books and talk about how language works.
Listen to your child read out loud. If your child is quickly and correctly saying most of the words in the story, it usually means there is comprehension. You can improve your child’s thinking skills after they finish a story:
The books in the I Can Read! series introduce children to characters who are thoughtful and sometimes impulsive. In the end, each character learns a lesson. Just like the puppy in our popular Biscuit series, kids can be curious and eager. And, in the end, kids will learn something if we give them the tools they need to think and make good choices. Generations of parents have found that I Can Read! Books are stepping-stones to discussing important issues kids face each day.
So, how do kids learn to read?
These five concepts were identified as critical in a report of the National Reading Panel (2001):
- Ask questions about characters, places, and events
- Retell the story together
- Make up new sentences using an unusual word from the story
- Have your child create a different ending
- Talk about similar situations in your lives
- Don’t read too fast—give your child time to absorb the pictures, vocabulary, and concepts
- Have your child impersonate a character in the story and explain how the character is feeling
- Give your child a journal to write or draw pictures about the story
- Create a timeline of the events in the story
“If we want children to learn to read well, we must find a way to induce them to read lots,” says researcher Marilyn Jager Adams. After children learn to read, they read to learn. The more information, facts, and vocabulary a child knows, the better their comprehension will be later on.
When older children read difficult books in science and social studies, their early reading experiences give them a toolbox filled with what they need to comprehend the new information.
- Phonemic awareness—Being aware of sounds in words
- Phonics—Decoding words by knowing the sounds letters make
- Fluency—Ability to read a text accurately and quickly
- Vocabulary—Knowing the meaning of words in oral and reading vocabulary
- Text comprehension—The purpose of reading is to understand what we read
I Can Read! Books
I Can Read! books increase in complexity with each level, which means your child can improve his or her thinking skills at just the right pace.
When emergent readers listen to a story, they can increase thinking skills by making predictions. Introduce simple sight words that are repeated throughout the story. Point them out as you read. If you think your child is ready, touch the word each time and let your child read it.
As kids read stories about home, school, and friendship, they improve their thinking skills by making connections to the text. Ask your child what the story makes him think of, or if it reminds them of something that has happened to her.
Since the concepts at this level are familiar, this is a good time to help your child develop retelling skills using the words, “beginning,” “middle,” “end,” or “first,” “next,” and “last.”
Children at this level encounter more challenging words and longer sentences. They can improve their thinking skills by trying these strategies when they get stuck on a word:
- Ask them what word would make sense.
- Suggest they look at the picture and see if that helps.
- Tell them to keep going and read to the end of the sentence, and then go back and reread.
- Cover up all but the first letter, and then move your finger to the right as your child reads each sound.
- Tell them when it occurs.
Keep your child reading and discovering new and exciting books and topics by staying up to date on all the latest I Can Read! news. Become an I Can Read! Member and join the I Can Read! Fan Club today!
See a bibliography for this article.
Independent readers face more complex themes and challenging words. The I Can Read! books at this level include topics that can be used as springboards to improve thinking skills. After your child reads, ask him or her if they have any questions about the main topic. Search for websites, or books at the library, to find the answers. Encourage your child to ask questions while reading, and talk about them together.
Try reading about new topics or choosing a book with new characters to improve your child’s thinking skills. Reading a mystery or adventure for the first time can open up a whole new world for your child. I Can Read! categories include: