Elevating Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy
If you become a bird and fly away from me, I will be a tree that you come home to. ~ from The Runaway Bunnyby Margaret Wise Brown
I’m sure you’re noticing A LOT of changes in your 8~11 year-old child….oops..I mean, young girl/boy…
In my experience with this age group, I discovered these children to be immersed in what I call “The Golden Age of Learning”.
Their Literacy independence is inspiring them to explore a plethora of adventures in an imaginative and creative way. They are able to locate the answers to SO MANY of the questions they continually ask every day. And are SO VERY delighted to be able to do so!
Their Problem Solving skills as well as Task Completion rate are increasing with accuracy….most of the time.
If you haven’t done so already, dear Reader, NOW is the time to UP YOUR GAME for your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy!!!
Your Upper Elementary Child’s Literacy
I’m sure you’re SO over hearing “I’m NOT a CHILD anymore!” (note the correction in the Intro….), especially when supervision is a must.
Family Time is becoming…..rare, unless, of course, a few of “my friends” can be included…. Just how many extracurricular activities can one person participate in !?!?
I will tell you, though, those clubs, classes and sports will be a GOOD thing in the coming years….Seriously~keep the meter running.
Oh, and Hobbies & Collections are DEFINITELY a MUST for elevating your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy. Here are a few categories:
- Visual Arts, like painting, sculpting, drawing
- Crafts (several), like scrap-booking, sewing, cooking, etc.
- Performing Arts, like acting, singing, dancing, etc.
- Musical Instruments, like piano, guitar, trumpet, etc.
- Sports: Team & Solo, like soccer, baseball, tennis, track, skating, martial arts, etc.
- Camping Excursions, like scouting, nature hikes, etc.
- Gardening, like veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, landscaping, etc.
- Building Sets, like Legos, Lincoln logs, etc.
- Model Kits, like ships, airplanes, cars, rockets, etc.
- Board Games, especially ones that involve mystery & strategy.
Need more ideas ? BLB’s Library has a few Resources for you. Just click on these links:
This website link lists “101 After School Club Ideas” you can start or suggest to neighbors, friends and/or your child’s school campus:
Not only is your 8~11 year-old digging deep into how things work, they are, also, developing quite a passion for the world beyond their family and surrounding community.
WOW! It’s A Great Big World Out There!
Your child’s interest in reading about exciting adventure, fantasies, and science fiction’s future feeds his/her daydreams. Seeking other places, cultures, and, yes, even worlds influences daily thoughts and ideas.
Having the tools of independent research allows her/him to travel into the far-reaching realms of imagination and creativity.
Here are a few family travel links:
BLB’s Library has a few Resources, too:
Don’t be surprised if s/he wants to learn a few more languages along the way….
Language’s listening and talking are taking on a whole new perspective within your 8~11 year-old’s communication skills.
Well, You Won’t Believe What Happened Next….
You may have to “listen in” to conversations between your youngster and her/his friends to hear the substantial amount of new vocabulary being included in the day-to-day dialogues.
And they’re not just everyday words either….
S/he is learning how to say exactly what s/he wants/means to say. Communication, especially between peers, is becoming more and more important.
The phone, if you are permitting one, is a new “appendage”…
You’ll, also, notice a keener sense of humor is emerging. There is, also, an appreciation for solving riddles and a more sophisticated involvement in word play. S/he is very entertained/ing with his/her clever, sly Language skills.
BLB’s Library has a Resource for encouraging your child’s “funny bones”:
So, “Where is all this ‘sophistication’ coming from?” you wonder….
Common Core’s Ongoing Language Expectations
Beginning in Third Grade and continuing throughout each grade level, s/he is expected to “demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking”.
Here’s a general list of the sentence structures s/he is expected to understand, form and utilize with accuracy:
- Explain what a noun, verb, adjective and adverb is and how they are used in a sentence
- Form sentences with accurate subject-verb agreement
- Can form & speak simple, compound & complex sentences
Specifically, there are expectations for forming & using the different parts of speech as well:
- regular & irregular plural nouns
- abstract nouns
- regular & irregular verbs
- simple verb tenses
- comparative & superlative adjectives and adverbs
Many of these expectations are modeled and taught during reading instruction. Remember~ your child’s independent level of Reading is not only contributing to the amount s/he chooses to read, but, also, the escalating amount of fiction and nonfiction texts s/he is experiencing in the classroom.
I Am Reading to Learn
Today a Reader, tomorrow a Leader.~Margaret Fuller
Even though your upper elementary child’s literacy level may enable her/him to read independently, you can continue to ensure her/his comprehension of the text by listening to him/her read aloud and using the following strategies:
- Ensure the content is not only appropriate for his/her maturity level, but, also, her/his actual reading level.
- Encourage a Pre-Read for background knowledge, vocabulary understanding & interest level.
- Confirm the content of fictional reads has a predictable Beginning, Middle & Ending structure with one Main Problem/Conflict.
- Make sure the content of nonfictional reads has a predictable & supported Main topic.
- Periodically, ask questions about the read and/or have her/him retell what was just read.
If you want to wait until after s/he has finished reading the chapter or slim book, here are some comprehensions questions to ask:
- What happened in the Beginning of the story? (listen for Important Details)
- Middle? Ending? (again, listen for Important Details to be included during the Retell)
- Did the story remind you of anything or anyone? (his/her response should be a “Yes, it made me think about….”)
- What is the Setting of the story? (characters, place & time)
- What was the Main Problem, or Conflict in the story & how did it get Solved? (several solution attempts may be made before the actual success of one)
Using these comprehension strategies verbally or in a Reading Response Journal will continue to strengthen your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy.
Is your child a “Good” Reader?
“Good” Reader Strategies
Yes, reading for pleasure is VERY important. However, Your Independent Reader needs to read for accuracy so s/he is learning as s/he reads.
- Look at the Book Cover & Title
- Do a Picture Walk & scan some of the Text
- Ask Who did What, When, Where, Why & How.
- Ask if the text is making sense & supporting the Main Idea.
- Wonder about what you think will happen in the story.
- Make some predictions and, then, read to find out how accurate your predictions were.
- Think about how some of the Important Details are meaningful to the story.
- Use those Details to help you define the Author’s Purpose for telling the story.
- Relate the story to your thoughts, feelings and what you know.
- Compare/Contrast the story to other stories you’ve read or heard as well as the world around you.
- Organize/Sequence the Main Details of the story.
- Draw Conclusions about those Important Details.
- Once you have finished reading the story, decide what you learned from the text.
- Then, decide if what you read was important to you & if you enjoyed reading it.
And, what is your Independent Reader reading?
Your Child’s Reading Interest Levels
You can continue elevating your upper elementary child’s Literacy by making sure s/he has access to a wide ~ and I mean WIDE~ variety of fiction and nonfiction books, magazines, newspapers & how-to project books.
Books about historic, modern, and futuristic adventures with humor, excitement, mystery and the “unexpected” are definitely reads to pique his/her interests.
Here’s a great link with Book Ideas for your Independent, Upper Elementary Reader:
BLB’s Library has a Resource for Poetry:
As well as several Resources in BLB’s Library and Shop for Informative Text, which continues to GROW in importance:
However, if you have a struggling or non-reader, BLB’s Library has a Resource for you:
Perhaps, s/he would rather WRITE than read….
Writing to Read
What you don’t know would make a great book. ~Sydney Smith
If last year was Second Grade, you are aware of the Writing Expectations your child faces. Here’s a reminder link:
Now, multiply those Literacy Expectations again and again…..and again.
You may want to have access to Common Core’s Standards for Third Grade Writing and Beyond. Here’s a link:
Yes, it’s pretty extensive and will continue to increase with difficulty.
Oh……… and , then, there are the Expectations for the Writing Conventions of Standard English :
- quotation marks
- spelling : patterns, prefixes & suffixes
My Teachers Pay Teachers Shop has a Resource for Grammar Usage:
Make glossaries, dictionaries, and other reference word helpers part of the easy-to-access library. They are definite tools for:
- unknown words’ spelling and multiple-meanings
- root words
- how prefixes & suffixes affect root words
- figurative language
- literal & non-literal words/phrases in context
- abstract words
Fortunately, if those fine motor skills were hampering your child’s writing progress, the coordination of hand & fingers are improving ~ a plus to the actual physicality of writing.
Otherwise, if writing is a struggle ~ and it is for many of us ~read on for a few helpful suggestions.
ARGH!!! Writing !!!!
Loves to read, but Hates to Write!!!! BLB’s Library has a few Resources for you:
and for some inspiration:
The BEST and most effective suggestion I have for your I HATE TO WRITE writer is Interactive Writing between you and your child. Select a journal, have your writer decorate it, and begin:
BTW… a few ideas and suggestions for making your home and your Upper Elementary child’s Literacy Learning Space an inviting environment.
Here are a few Resources & checklists for helping you make your home a Learning & Teaching ~Friendly environment:
and last, but not least……
I hope this Post has some ideas and suggestions you can use in your Family Literacy Circle regardless of the Independence of your Learner.
Now…for the 52-week, cross-curricular, interactive, hands-on, enrichment program I promised to deliver for your 8~11 year-old Learners. Click on the link below for CLAMDiggers:
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