Despite popular belief, schools are not magical places, particularly when it comes to learning in an additional language. However, from what I have seen in schools over the years, I am convinced that consistent reading at an appropriately challenging level may just well be a little bit of magic. Language development doesn’t just happen – there needs to be consistent action and some of this needs to be happening at home. At HIS, our students learn language, but they also learn through language and learn about language. This is a lot of work and requires time and dedication from both the student and the family.
The partnership between the school and the family is vital for language development as it will never be possible to just send a child to school and have them learn whatever they need, particularly when it comes to language development. One of the easiest ways for your family to support your child develop their language skills is to supervise reading at home, everyday, but the reading material must be appropriately challenging.
We become better readers by reading texts that are not too easy, not too hard, but just right. (Sounds like a familiar story.) Your family can help your child choose an appropriate English language text by looking at Lexile measures. The Lexile measure is an indication of how difficult a text is. It is extremely useful. Readers are matched to a Lexile range – matching the difficulty of the text to the level of difficulty that they are ready for.
We can talk to you about the current Lexile measure of your child, but first a good idea is to get an idea of the Lexile level of what your child is currently reading. This chart may help – 11×17 Lexile Map 2015. You can also look at the website and search for the Lexile measure of specific books on the top right hand side of the screen on www.lexile.com. In this post, I just wanted to introduce the idea of a Lexile measure and we will explore its applications in following posts.
In short, to support language development, make sure that you:
- Supervise reading everyday at home in whatever language you are trying to develop. (At least 30 minutes)
- Ensure that the reading material is appropriately challenging. (Not too easy, not too hard, but just right.)