Improve Your Child’s Reading Fluency at Home

One of the most important aspects of a child’s education is ensuring they have strong reading fluency and comprehension. Having a solid reading foundation is critical for setting your child up for success in every aspect of their educational career and beyond. The journey to becoming a fluent reader doesn’t just start in elementary school, and it certainly doesn’t stay there. A plethora of strategies exist to help your child continue their reading fluency outside the classroom, and we are happy to share some of these skills with you in this blog!

At Resurrection Christian School, we are dedicated to help your child excel in reading fluency and comprehension. Our highly-trained teachers and assessments help target reading levels in a precise and exact manner, enabling students to grow in reading in a way that challenges them, but is not difficult. Read on to see how you can transfer this mindset to your home, and help your kids stay engaged in their reading development!

What Exactly is Reading Fluency?

At its core, being a fluent reader means that you can read at a good pace, while also understanding what you read. There’s a fine balance between pace, intonation, and comprehension. This seems simple enough, but becoming a great reader takes years and years of practice!

Some students are excellent decoders, meaning they have a mastery of how a certain language works; its rules and regulations. Being an excellent decoder means coming across a word you might not know, such as “quintessential,” and being able to figure out how it’s pronounced.

Being a great decoder, however, does not mean one automatically understands what a word means. Some readers excel in context clues, meaning they use the rest of the text to help them understand an unknown word’s definition. An excellent contextual reader means looking at a sentence such as “The water around the mountain flowed out from a tributary” and being able to deduce that “tributary” has something to do with a river.

Both of these parts of reading fluency must come together in great and practically equal strength in order for a reader to be successful. A child who only can decode words might seem like they’re fast readers, and therefore talented, but lack the comprehension. A student who can only use context clues will grow frustrated with not being able to get through a text in a fluid manner.

How Can I Tell if My Child is a Fluent Reader?

Resurrection Christian School assesses reading fluency through the DIBELS method, where students read letters, words, and/or a text (depending on the grade level standards). DIBELS focuses on progress monitoring, where students who are reading below grade level are given a timeline as to how frequently they should be assessed. This ensures that their progress is more closely monitored, and adjustments to their

For younger students, such as kindergarteners and first graders, much of the assessment focuses on phonemic awareness. Students at this age are asked to read individual letters, or be able to phonetically “chunk” or take apart a word. A 5-6 year old with a solid reading foundation will be able to hear or see a word such as “spot” and break it down to “sp/awh/t,” showing they understand how letters form to make sounds, which in turn comprise words.

Students after first grade will be tested by being timed to read a short text, with a follow-up of having to answer comprehension questions. DIBELS looks at how fast a student can read, as well as their overall understanding of the text, to gauge where students are at. Through this method, DIBELS addresses which areas should be focused on for your child’s reading development.

How to Help Your Child’s Reading Fluency Grow

No matter if you’re child is above, at, or below their grade level for reading, you want them to continue to grow. What parent wants their child to reach a plateau and say they don’t need to learn anymore? That’s not the kind of attitude that anyone should have, at any age in life. Additionally, if we don’t consistently practice at something, we lose the skills we have. This isn’t to say your child will not be able to read, but even the loss of reading stamina is a considerable deficit that can be easily prevented. Take a look at some ways to help your child continue growing in their reading outside of the school day!

Read With Your Child

This is one of the most obvious, seemingly easy things to do, and we’re including it because it makes such a huge difference. Engage in books with your child every day! Have them practice reading to you, read with them, ask questions along the way, praise them for reading, talk about how reading makes you smart—do everything to make reading an activity they will intrinsically grow to love.

Help Your Child Take Charge of Their Growth

One of the things teachers can do to encourage their students is to have students track and chart their DIBELS growth. You might be surprised to know that kids love graphing their progress, and seeing how they grow! Just as many adults are motivated to progress and improve, kids have much of the same mentality.

Make a chart with your family about books that are being read, and have your child color in or choose a sticker to represent a completed book. If your child needs a little extrinsic push, create a family celebration for filling up a chart (like a trip to the bookstore!)

As children get older, we know that the number of books read pales in comparison to their younger, picture-book-reading years. Change it up to track how many words they read! There areseveral ways to check the number of words read in a book—one of the best systems is AR Book Find, which also quizzes students when they finish a book.

Help Your Child Form Goals

In addition to tracking their growth at reading outside of school, work with your child to practice writing and forming goals, specific to their reading. Some children will be pleased enough to make a goal and achieve it, sans extrinsic motivation. This is definitely something to strive for, but everyone is different. Just as in a career, adults still work for promotions and bonuses, proving a little extrinsic motivation is not bad. If your child needs a little boost, tie in their goals with their data tracking. Here are some great goal ideas!

  • I want to read _____ this many books in March.
  • My goal is to read the __________ genre, because I haven’t read as much from that type of book style.
  • I am driven to read every book that _______________ has written.
  • I want to read 100,000 words this year!
  • I am going to work at increasing my reading fluency to _____ words per minute.

Don’t forget to encourage them along the way!

Create an Ideal Reading Space

Maybe some people would want to read sitting upright at a desk all day, but for many of us, we need something a little bit different. Take blankets outside, build a reading fort, switch to “night reading” by turning off all the lights and breaking out the flashlights, or just have a really comfy chair. Any of these things will encourage reading as the cozy and wonderful activity it is!

Have Access to Books

Even if you don’t own a ton of books, even if your personal library is lacking, you can still provide access to books! If your child doesn’t have opportunities to read books they are interested in, they’re not going to be nearly as motivated to read.

Take frequent trips to the library, many of which offer great incentive programs for youth readers! The more your kids can read books that interest them, the more they will read.

Reading takes a lot of practice, but helping your child be a fluent reader is one of the best gifts you can give them. By practicing these reading fluency strategies outside of school, combined with the direct instruction children receive at Resurrection Christian School, your child will be set up for so much educational success. We are proud to offer highly-esteemed and recognized strategies and lessons for encouraging reading fluency, with over 90 percent of our readers at a fluent level.

They say knowledge is power, and if there’s anything that takes us there, it’s being a fluent reader. Try these strategies with your young ones, and contact RCS today to look into enrollment!


Helping Your Children Grow Into Leaders

There are two types of people in this world—leaders and followers. And while that may seem cliché, it is true and there will always be those who enjoy taking control of different situations. Some leaders may surface during situations that require someone stepping up to the challenge. And a leader can be made. Children have the possibility of turning out in one of two ways, will your child be a leader or a follower?

Every parents wants their child to be a leader—to have the attitude, mentality, and ability to lead a group and themselves. And this is something that you can teach your children. As parents, you can help them learn how to think as a leader would and act as they would act. At Resurrection Christian School, we understand the importance of leadership among different peer groups, and we love seeing our students emerge as leaders. There are many different things you can do to help your children develop and grow into leaders. These lessons and skills may come naturally, but there are ways you can help your child start on the path to leadership.

Start When They Are Young

Your kids learn from watching you and your actions. If you have a positive attitude, face challenges and show them that failure is a learning opportunity. Encourage your children to step outside of their comfort zone whenever possible, push themselves mentally and physically, and take risks. This will allow your children to get comfortable standing up against fears and prepare them to face others.

At a young age, your child will be able to develop different traits and will learn more your actions. Be a good role model for them and show them what a true leader looks like. This will help them begin to adopt their own leadership skills and continue learning new skills into the future.

Teach Them To Work As A Team

A leader works with a team to achieve a goal. Team activities can help encourage your children to take charge and try to motivate everyone to work together. Even if they do not develop leadership skills on the team, it is important for them to see why it is important that an entire team works together and the value in having a team.

If you child does develop leadership skills on their team, be sure to help them best put these skills to use and make the team feel like they can only reach their goals with everyone working together. Teaching your child to be motivating to others may be a challenge but it is something that will help them become a better leader.

Use Motivation

Speaking of the importance of motivation, you should always motivate your children. Make sure they know what they are working towards, as well as the importance of what they’re doing, and that hard work pays off. Keeping your kids motivated can help them feel more confident in their work, feel as though they have significance, and can keep them interested in reaching their goals.

Work On Emotional Intelligence

According to this Forbes article, emotional intelligence (EQ) is a big factor when it comes to developing valuable leadership skills. Emotional intelligence is what helps us manage behavior, make personal decision that achieve positive results, and work through social problems.

EQ is a learned behavior from parents. Children watch how you act in your everyday life, how you respond to strong emotions, and acknowledge how aware of emotions you are.

Forbes mentions a study done by TalentSmart, which found that EQ is responsible for 58 percent of a leader’s performance in their job and 90 percent of top-performing leaders have higher EQs. Being attuned with our emotions may be difficult, but that is because we do not work on developing our EQs. Help your child develop their EQ and they will have a better chance at becoming an effective leader. Emotional intelligence is learned, and these behaviors can easily become habits. Learn more about EQ from the TalentSmart article.

Teach Your Child To Grow From Failure

Every single person, at some point in their life, will experience failure. Whether it is a test, a job interview, or working toward their dream, everyone will face this challenge and have to learn how to deal with it. Teaching your child that failure is okay, will allow them to understand that they can take risks. A leader must learn to take risks and understand the consequences that could come from them.

After your child has faced failure a few times, they will be able to better understand what risks are worth taking. This will help them in many different areas of their life—decision making, comparing risk versus reward, and perseverance.

Teach Perseverance

This is an important part of being a leader and it goes hand-in-hand with failure. Teaching your kids to keep trying and push their challenges and mistakes can help them work until they get it right, and when they finally achieve their goal, they will feel more accomplished and proud of themselves. Failing is only a chance to try something again in a different way, teach them that failure means nothing more than that and have them continue to push themselves and work until they figure it out.

Communication Is Key

Remember that all good leaders are great at communicating. Teach your children how to communicate with everyone, from adults to their peers. Emphasize what good communication looks like compared to bad. Don’t talk for them, allow your children to order their own food, ask adults questions, and communicate with you effectively rather than yelling or throwing a tantrum.

Good communication is not only a good leadership skill, but a life skill that your kids will carry with them throughout their entire lives. Teaching good communication can help them in more ways than one, which is why it is so important to teach them from a young age.

Work On Decision Making

Dealing with failure, working towards a goal, and learning how to act in response to our emotion, all go along with learning how to make good decision. Teaching your child to make good decisions and how to do so can help them greatly in life. They will learn to think about the outcome, why this decision is important, and how it will affect their lives. This is an important quality for a leader to have, and the sooner your child learns the value of good decision making, the easier their life will be.

Let Them Do Their Own Thing

If your child is working on a project, attempting to learn something, or working on an activity, let them work alone. If they struggle, take a step back and let them work their the problem by themselves. Allow them to do things on their own, make their own decisions, and work through their failures. This will teach them not to always rely on receiving help. They will learn to work through their own issues and get the satisfaction of figuring it out on their own. This is a great way to help your children build more confidence, become more independent, and realize the importance of hard work and perseverance.

There are many things you can do to help your children develop leadership skills, this list in only highlighting a few of the most important things that make up a leader. Even if your child does end up being more of a follower, they will benefit greatly from these lessons you taught them.

These lessons, along with an education at Resurrection Christian School, can put your children on a path to success and help them become an effective leader. At RCS, we value leadership and teach our students how to be leaders and what it takes. The lessons you teach your children, along with what we teach at our school, have the potential to make leaders out of more children than most people would expect.

Learn more about the RCS today and work with your children to a learn and understand the importance of these different leadership skill. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


Keeping Kids Busy in the Summer

Summer is a great time for students to relax and take a break from their busy and hectic school lives. Depending on the age of your children, their summers may look very different. From playing with friends to getting a summer job, your kids will be focused on things other than their education.

But summer is also a good time for students to get into trouble. If unsupervised and bored, your kids could get mischievous and try finding ways to keep them entertained, and that doesn’t always lead to reading a book in the backyard. There are many ways to keep your kids busy, having fun, and involved this summer.

Preschool

Your young kiddos, who are in preschool or their early stages of elementary, obviously need some kind of supervision. If you are working all summer make sure you hire a babysitter, find a daycare, or have older siblings take responsibilities. In a daycare they will be kept entertained and socializing with friends. If you hire a babysitter or have your older child take care of them, set up things for them to do during the day, things like going to a museum, playing in a park, or hanging out at the pool.

If you are staying at home with your kiddos this summer, or work from home, come up with fun things to do with your kids that will also be fun for you. Go explore some of the nearby mountains, hang out at a waterpark, or attempt to fly a kite in the park. Plan play dates with your kids Resurrection Christian School buddies, let them play together several times throughout the summer, helping to keep their friendship strong.

Elementary

For your kids who are a bit older and no longer entertained by sliding down the slide over and over again, come up with activities that will challenge them and help them test their limits. At this age, kids like challenging themselves and learning new things.

If you believe your child is old enough to stay home alone, make sure they are not just watching TV or playing video games all day. If your kids love books, be thankful, but also take them to the bookstore or the library once a week to get new books to keep them entertained while they are home alone.

Maybe you are not comfortable leaving your child home alone, if this is the case, sign them up for fun summer camps. Find fun and interesting summer camps in Loveland or Fort Collins for your kiddos, let them pick one or a few out so that they will enjoy what they are doing. From soccer camps to game design camps, there is something that will entertain every kid.

Camps are a great way to keep your kid involved, learning, and meeting new friends. On weekends, be sure to spend time with your children, plan fun activities with them that will keep them excited throughout the week. This is a great way to keep them interested.

Middle School

Your middle school aged kids are generally able to stay home alone throughout the summer, but they are also at the age of lounging around all day, playing video games, and using their cell phones as much as their breath.

At this age, you should attempt to get your kids outside and active. Many on the summer camps in the links above are for middle school aged children as well, find something that they are interested in and keep them moving during the summer.

On hot summer days, being outside can be draining. Getting a pool membership could be the solution to getting your kiddos outside and active during the summer. Going to the pool with their friends will keep them active, socializing, and get them away from the technology that rules their everyday lives.

High School

Once your kids get to high school, they believe they should have complete independence and freedom throughout the summer. This is a great time for them to get their first summer job, whether it is at a local coffee shop, retail store, or mowing the neighbors lawns. Getting a job could keep them busy, help teach them responsibility, and allow them to save some money of their own.

If your teens are in any Resurrection Christian School sports, we have many trainings, practices, camps, and open gyms scheduled throughout the summer. Check the calendar to know the times and places.

It is more of a challenge getting your teens to do things that you tell them to do. At this point, when they are staying home alone on summer days, you just have to hope they are staying out of trouble and keeping busy. On weekends try to plan things with them. This is an important time to build a relationship with your teens and help them through their high school years.

Activities for All

If you are a stay at home parent, or are lucky enough to have summers off, spend time with your children. There are many things, especially in Colorado, that you can do to keep everyone entertained and busy during the summer. Go on family adventures into Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park, hike some of the trails, find new places, and get outside.

Head to Horsetooth Reservoir to swim, paddle board, or cruise around in the speed boat. Try to go to all the museums, art exhibits, and the musical and food festivals in Old Town Fort Collins. This is a great area to stay busy in, with mountains to explore, history to learn about, and endless activities, your kids should never get bored.

Have a family volunteering night. Find an organization or cause you would all like to help with and plan a day that you all can do that together. It will help keep you busy, build bonds, and help out the community. Volunteering when your kids are young is a great way to help them find a passion for it, and hopefully continue it in the future.

Keeping your kids busy, entertained, socializing, and working with the community is an important part of summer. Of course lazy days are always acceptable, but when every day turns into lounging around the house and staring at a phone, planning a nice hike or a trip to the museum is the perfect way to make a boring summer day something special.

Resurrection Christian School knows the importance of keeping kids busy and active throughout the summer. We encourage our students to stay involved, keep active, and enjoy their summer. August 15th is the first day of the next school year, enjoy the time you and your kids have together before the hectic school days take over again.