Reading with Purpose

Even if your littles are reading a book or a chapter every day, even if you’re reading aloud together, sometimes we get caught up in the story or a time crunch and forget to read with purpose.

Reading with purpose can be done with both fiction and nonfiction, even for texts. When your kids are reading a science text and you have a discussion with them or ask comprehensive questions, you are reading with purpose. When they read a biography and can tell you at the end what kind of life the subject led, they have read with purpose. Short reading comp worksheets count.

It’s important to teach kids to read with purpose for a variety of reasons. Reading fiction with purpose can have many benefits for your child. If the novel is historical, like Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes or something from the Magic Tree House series, reading with purpose can help your child pay special attention to real-life characters and historical facts. If it’s scientific, like the Magic School Bus series or The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm, purposeful reading can encourage better understanding of scientific processes and vocabulary. It trains them to be able to read with purpose when it counts, say from an instruction manual or a work-related file.

There are lots of ways to ensure your kids are getting the most from their reading experience. Novel study guides are a huge help, but simple worksheets can be a huge benefit, too. Character maps like the one pictured below are great for helping kids keep track of who’s who or for thinking about individual characters more clearly. Writing their own journal entries about specific events in a novel can be a great tool for clarifying new information in their minds. Something as simple as giving your child a specific purpose before they begin reading will help them. Say something like, “As you read this chapter/book, I want you to pay special attention to….” Whatever you’re wanting them to glean from that particular story will be in the forefront of their minds so they are watching for it as they move through the story.

But don’t make them read with purpose all the time. Remember, part of the fun of reading (if not all of it!) is getting lost inside the story, in some world you couldn’t or don’t otherwise inhabit. And I can’t say often enough that reading should be something kids consider fun.

Let me know what you think—are there other ways of or benefits from reading with purpose that you know? If so, share them with me. I’m always looking to learn.

Love wins,

KT

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