Joanna Stamatiou

Parent Handout: “How to Read with your Child”
Borrow-A-Book Program (Leveled Text)
The sections in this handout are divided up into reading levels 1-3, 4-6 and 10+.
Although you will only need to refer to the section pertaining to your child’s current
level, all three sections have been provided so that you may refer to them as your
child moves up in levels.
(DRA stands for Diagnostic Reading Assessment).

Level 1-3 (DRA)
Reading With your Child
Your child will be bringing home a book to read that is specifically chosen for them
based on their reading level. In the very beginning, your child will be bringing
home simple books with patterned sentences and they will not really be reading the
words, but instead, memorizing the pattern and using the pictures to make changes
to the pattern. This is how children learn to read. Your job will be to help your child
point to the words they are reading and “Make it Match!” In the beginning, you will
need to read the sentence before they do and show them how to point to the words.
Next your might hold there finger and do it for them. Eventually, they will learn to do
it on their own. When they read the sentence and point to the wrong words, don’t
correct them right away. They will soon notice that they missed something and they
will self-correct. If they do not correct themselves, ask them “Can you make it
match?” If they cannot, then you will need to show them.
Day 1: Picture Walk
Read the title. Show your child the pictures on each page (cover the words). Ask
them to tell you what is happening in each picture until you finish looking at all the
pages. Point out anything they may not be familiar with (e.g., names of characters in
the story, a type of animal they have never heard of before). This will give your child
important background knowledge so when they go to read the book on their own
they can use this information when trying to decode words that they do not know.
Next, read the first page to your child, making sure that your fingers are pointing
to the words as you read them. Have your child read the rest of the story
pointing to the words as they read.
Day 2:
Show your child their book and read the title. Ask your child, “Do you remember this
book? Can you tell me about it?” Read the first sentence pointing to the words as
your read. Say to your child, “Now, you read it.”
Day 3 to 5:
Hand your child the book and read the title to them (Don’t forget to point to the
words). Say to your child, “Now you read it.” Let them hold the book and turn
the pages.
Activity: The Cut Up Sentence
The Cut Up Sentence activity will help your child make a connection between the
words he or she is pointing to, and the actual print. This activity is recommended for
days 2, 3, 4 or 5. Follow your child’s interest and your family’s busy schedule but try

Joanna Stamatiou
to do it at least 2 times per week. These activities are meant to be a positive
experience and the research shows that at this age, any more than 30 minutes they
will begin to lose focus. For some children, 10 minutes will be more appropriate.
1. Write a simple sentence from one of the pages in the book on a strip of paper
e.g., I like carrots and peas. (Make sure you try to use your best printing and
correct upper and lowercase letters. You could always photocopy or type).
2. Have your child read the words while pointing to them.
3. Cut up the sentence. At first you may cut the sentence into two parts. “I” and
“like carrots and peas.” (Make sure the words are not upside down). Ask your
child to put the sentence back together. If they accomplish this task with
success, cut the sentence into more parts and eventually cut up each word
in the sentence (e.g., I - like – carrots – and- peas).
4. You can cut off the period as well, but make sure you keep the words intact.
Please stop at any point if your child is getting frustrated. Reading and writing
need to be a positive experience.
5. Extension (but not necessary): When finished, your child can glue their
sentence on a paper and draw a picture or they can dictate their own sentence
to you following the pattern and you can write it down and you can do the
same as above. (e.g. , I like Halloween candy.)
Remember, the primary goal of this program is developing positive attitudes
towards reading and writing. Please make these activities fun and easy because
if your child becomes frustrated will not progress as quickly.

Book levels:
When you feel that your child has started to “read” the words in the book they are
being sent home, he or she may be ready for the next level. Please send me a note
and I will send your child a more difficult book the following week. ***Please do not
be shy to let me know that this book is too hard and you would like to go back to the
previous level.





How will I know if my child is ready for the next level?
Are they reading 95% of the words in the story correctly?
Are they reading fluently with expression or word-by-word?
Are they correcting themselves when what they have read doesn’t make
sense?
Are they interested in picking up the book to read?
Are they enjoying reading the story or are they becoming discouraged or
frustrated?
When they come to a word they do not know, are they looking to you to tell
them the word or are they using strategies to figure it out on their own?

What should I do when my child comes to a word that they do not know?
E.g., I see a _________(donkey).
1. Don’t say anything for 7 seconds. Give them a chance to figure it out.
2. First focus on the meaning….say, “Look at the picture.” or “What would make
sense?”

Joanna Stamatiou
3. Look at the word. “What letter does it start with?”, “What sound does it
make?”
4. If your child cannot figure it out, tell them.

Levels 4-8 (DRA)
Reading With your Child
Your child will be bringing home a book to read that is specifically chosen for them
based on their reading level. When reading with your child, please make sure that
they are pointing to the words as they read them. If they make a mistake when
reading, do not correct them right away. Let them finish the sentence or paragraph
and see if they can self-correct. If they do not correct themselves, ask them “Did
that make sense?” See if they can figure it out on their own.
What should you do when your child comes to a word that they do not
know?
E.g., I see a _________(donkey).
1. Don’t say anything for 7 seconds. Give them a chance to figure it out.
2. First focus on the meaning….say, “Look at the picture.” or “What would
make sense?”
3. Look at the word. “What letter does it start with?” “What sound does it
make?”
4. “Do you know any other words that look like this?” e.g., If the word is bike,
you could write down the word “like” for them.
5. If they cannot figure it out, tell them.
Soon your child will be reading on their own and we need to give them strategies for
when an adult is not there to help them.
Day 1: Picture Walk
Give your child the book. (Do not hold it for them or turn the pages). Read the title
and point to the words as you read them. Have your child look at THE PICTURES,
(not the words) on each page and have them tell you what is happening in each
picture until they finish looking at all of the pages. Point out anything they may not
be familiar with (e.g., names of characters in the story, a type of animal they have
never heard of before). This preview will give your child important background
knowledge so when they go to read the book on their own they can use this
information when trying to decode words that they do not know. Next, read the first
page to your child, making sure that your fingers are pointing to the words as you
read them. Have your child read the rest of the story pointing to the words as
they read.
Day 2:

Joanna Stamatiou
Show your child their book and read the title. Ask your child, “Do you remember this
book? Can you tell me about it?” Read the first sentence pointing to the words as
your read. Say to your child, “Now, you read it.” Hand them the book and let
them turn the pages. Make sure they point to the words while reading.
Day 3 to 5:
Hand your child the book and have them read it. Try some of the activities listed
below.
Activities:
Here are some activities you can try with your child after they have read their book.
These activities are meant to be a positive experience and the research shows that at
this age, any more than 30 minutes they will begin to lose focus. For some children,
10 minutes will be more appropriate.
A) Retell  Some children read a story but do not comprehend it. Have your child retell
the story in order (beginning, middle and end). Encourage them to use words
like next, then, after. Make sure they give details from the story. In the
beginning you can ask them questions but the goal is to have them retell the
story independently.
B) 
Activity: The Cut Up Sentence
The Cut Up Sentence activity will help your child make a connection between the
words he or she is pointing to, and the actual print. This activity is recommended
for days 2, 3, 4 or 5. Follow your child’s interest and your family’s busy schedule
but try to do it at least 2 times per week.
1. Write a simple sentence from one of the pages in the book on a strip of paper
e.g., I like carrots and peas. (Make sure you try to use your best printing and
correct upper and lowercase letters. You could always photocopy or type).
2. Have your child read the words while pointing to them.
3. Cut up the sentence. At first you may cut the sentence into two parts. “I” and
“like carrots and peas.” (Make sure the words are not upside down). Ask the
child to put the sentence back together. If they accomplish this task with
success, cut the sentence into 3 parts, then 4, 5 and 6. You can cut off the
period as well, but make sure you keep the words in tact. Please stop at any
point if your child is getting frustrated. Reading and writing need to be a
positive experience.
4. Extension (but not necessary): When finished, have your child can glue their
sentence on a paper and draw a picture or they can dictate their own
sentence to you following the pattern and you can write it down and you can
do the same as above. E.g., I like Halloween candy.
C) Sight Words
 If you notice there is an important word in the story that keeps repeating that
your child does not know (e.g., here, she, like), choose that word to study for
the week. (only 1 word per week please). Have them say it and write it 6
times, make it using magnetic letters, put it on your fridge, etc. Also, have
them find the word in the book before they read it. Try to revisit it daily.

Joanna Stamatiou
Remember, the primary goal of this program is developing positive attitudes towards reading
and writing. Please make these activities fun and easy because if your child becomes
frustrated will not progress as quickly.
Book levels:
When you feel that your child has started to “read” the words in the book they are being sent home,
he or she may be ready for the next level. Please send me a note and I will send your child a more
difficult book the following week. ***Please do not be shy to let me know that this book is too hard
and you would like to go back to the previous level.





How will I know if my child is ready for the next level?
Are they reading 95% of the words in the story correctly?
Are they reading fluently with expression or word-by-word?
Are they correcting themselves when what they have read doesn’t make sense?
Are they interested in picking up the book to read?
Are they enjoying reading the story or are they becoming discouraged or frustrated?
When they come to a word they do not know, are they looking to you to tell them the word or
are they using strategies to figure it out on their own?
What should I do when my child comes to a word that they do not know?
a _________(donkey).
Don’t say anything for 7 seconds. Give them a chance to figure it out.
First focus on the meaning….say, “Look at the picture.” or “What would make sense?”
Look at the word. “What letter does it start with?” “What sound does it make?”
“Do you know any other words that look like this?” e.g., If the word is bike, you could write
down the word “like” for them.
5. If they cannot figure it out, tell them.

E.g., I see
1.
2.
3.
4.

Level 10 + (DRA)



Have your child read the book. Stop on occasion and have your child retell the
part that was just read in order to ensure comprehension. At first you may
need to do this every couple of paragraphs, then every page, chapter, etc.
When retelling, encourage your child to communicate parts in sequence and to
add as much detail as possible (e.g., names, places, events, etc.).
Talk about some of the new vocabulary used in the book.
Engage in conversation following the read.
o Ask what they liked, disliked, found humorous/sad/exciting, etc.
o Make connections: does the story remind you of another book, does it
remind you of your own experiences, etc.

Activities:
Your child may choose to complete some of the following activities in order to
respond to the books they are reading. Some books will inspire a response more than
others.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Illustrate the most exciting, scariest, saddest, or happiest part of the book.
Use a paper plate to make a mask of one of the characters in your book.
Make models out of clay or play-do of scenes or characters from your book.
Design costumes for characters in your book.
Cut out pictures of things that remind you of your book and make a collage.
Using toys found at home (e.g., Playmobile, Lego, dolls, etc.) re-create a
scene from your book.

Joanna Stamatiou
7. Make a bookmark based on your book.
8. Make a paper bag puppet based on your book.
9. Retell the story to a family member.
10. Read your favourite part to a family member.
11. Talk about your favourite part.
12. Use you own imagination to create your own response activity.
13.

How will you know when your child is ready to move to more difficult
books?
 Are they reading 95% of the words in the story correctly?
 Are they reading fluently with expression or word-by-word?
 Are they correcting themselves when what they have read doesn’t make
sense?
 Are they ab le to retell the story in sequence (beginning middle and end) in
detail?
 Are they interested in picking up the book to read?
 Are they enjoying reading the story or are they becoming discouraged or
frustrated?
 When they come to a word they do not know, are they looking to you to tell
them the word or are they using strategies to figure it out on their own?
It is always better to choose a book that is too easy rather than too hard. An easier
book will help your child improve comprehension, reading fluency and expression and
promote enjoyment of reading. Books can be read silently and aloud to family,
friends and stuffed animals.

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