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READING / The ABC's of helping youngsters achieve literacy--the
first skill. | Head of the Class

Reading Tips And Notes

November 15, 1998

EXPERT ADVICE

Educators say virtually every child can learn to read proficiently. But parents must play a role.

You should monitor your child's progress and evaluate reading programs at school. You can speak with teachers and, if necessary, seek help from the school reading specialist or guidance counselor.

You also can ask key questions when visiting your child's classroom. Here is a checklist:

* Kindergarten:

* Do teachers frequently read aloud?

* Are favorite stories read repeatedly, and is "pretend" reading encouraged?

* Are there story discussions with opportunities for children to talk and listen?

* Are there good materials available for children to read and to have read to them?

* Do teachers discuss the different purposes of reading?

* Do children have opportunities to write? Do they compose messages to other people?

* Beginning Reading Programs (ages 6-7)

* Does the program include teaching the relationship between letters and sounds (phonics)?

* Are children reading stories that encourage them to practice what they are learning?

* Are children's reading materials interesting? Do they accommodate a child's limited reading vocabulary and the need to practice word identification with exciting stories?

* Are teachers still reading stories aloud to children and including good children's literature?

* Developmental Reading Programs (ages 8-10)

* Do reading and writing activities occur in every classroom and in every subject? As you walk through the school, do you see displays of children's writing on bulletins boards?

* Are teachers providing direct instruction--

teaching strategies that help students become better readers?

* Are there plenty of opportunities for children to practice reading? (For third- and fourth-graders, this should include at least two hours a week of independent reading in school.)

* Are there well-stocked school or classroom libraries?

* Are children encouraged to write meaningfully about what they read?

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement

BOOK EVENTS

* Nov. 15, Long Beach: Storyteller Jim Weiss performs, drawing from a repertoire that ranges from animal tales to the classics. For children 5 and up. Once Upon a Story, 3740 E. 4th St., 2 p.m. (562) 433-6856

* Nov. 16, Westchester: "Flights of Fantasy" storytellers will share tales from around the world with children of all ages. Los Angeles Public Library, Loyola Village Branch, 7114 W. Manchester Ave., 3:30 p.m. (310) 670-5436.

* Nov. 17, Los Angeles: Children's librarian Laurie Reese will read and tell stories to children ages 5 and older during family story hour. Los Angeles Public Library, Fairfax Branch, 161 S. Gardner St., 4:15 p.m. (323) 936-6191.

* Nov. 20, La Verne: Deborah Nourse Lattimore signs "I Wonder What's Under There?" Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, 1030 Bonita Ave., 10 a.m. (909) 599-4558

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