Previously I shared that having your child read over summer break is vital to maintaining their aptitude level. Unfortunately reading is not the same as understanding; and too often the emphasis is placed on getting through as many books as possible, which can result in merely skimming them without the benefits of expanding vocabulary or focusing on correct spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
Furthermore, cognitive science and learning research shows that “deep learning” requires gaining new information that can be connected to our own lives, which means reading comprehension is a must.
The best tool for developing this important skill is through the use of a Reflective Response Journal, which can be in the form of a composition book, legal pad, spiral notebook, or a computer document. The purpose of the journal is to foster an active, rather than passive, reader; and this exercise can be scaled to suit the age and reading level of your child.
The reflection exercise consists of responding to questions that prompt your child to explore his or her impressions and develop genuine thoughts and opinions. In other words, it serves to build valuable metacognitive skills. Therefore, entries go beyond superficial book reports, which only regurgitate the plot of the story.
Ideally, the journal entries should consist of well-formed and thoughtful responses to the types of questions listed below.
So, get your child started using a Reflective Response Journal for each book they read, and watch them blossom into more thoughtful and engaged readers!