Some parents assign reading time as part of the homeschooling day. Other times, children read on their own, either during the day or at bedtime.
It is natural for moms and dads to wonder if their children remember and understand what they read – this is called Reading Comprehension. While it is perfectly alright (in fact, recommended) to allow children to read for fun and pleasure with no strings attached, it is also important to know that they comprehend what they read, too.
Assigning a book study is one way to do this. You select a book, or allow your child to select a book that meets your approval. Then, over the next several days or weeks, you discuss the story or assign activities to help measure whether she understood the book.
How is reading comprehension measured?
One way is to ask the child questions about the story, a little bit every day or once a week. For example, after every chapter, you talk about what happened in the book. You make sure she understood the main points and caught the larger details in that chapter, and talk about anything else that she found particularly fascinating or intriguing. Of course, this method implies that mom or dad has already read the book (or at least a good online summary) and is able to gauge whether or not her answers are correct. However, there are many discussion questions and answers available for free or for purchase on the Internet to make the process easier for those who prefer to use a prepared lesson plan.
Another way to check comprehension is to assign a project based on the story. Asking the student to write a little bit about each chapter, keep a journal about the book, or write a book report are just some ideas. Other projects, for those who prefer alternatives to writing assignments, include acting out parts of the story, creating an artistic representation of something in the story, or creating an audio or video presentation about it. Just try to choose a project you think your child will love, rather than taking away the fun of reading the book altogether.
Whatever method you choose, aim to find out whether or not your child understood the story. If there were difficult words or confusing parts, make sure to clear them up as you go – so they do not block comprehension of the rest of the book. And talk about any parts that you feel, knowing that particular child, need further discussion.
There is nothing that will sap the fun out of a book more than assigning homework about it. This is why pleasure reading is highly recommended. On the other hand, as a homeschooling parent, you’ll need to know that your child is capable of reading and understanding the books that you assign. Book study projects can help with this important assessment.
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