Theme... the message
When authors write a story, they leave us with an increased understanding of some kind of life lesson or obstacle. In literature, we call this Theme: the meaning in the story that we can apply to our lives. The theme is not directly stated, but is inferred by the reader as he or she observes the main characters battles. The next time your child is reading a fiction text (story), ask him or her how the main character(s) has tried to overcome his or her problem (protagonist)? An advanced reader will understand that the chain of events in a story lead to an important message. Some examples of themes would be acceptance: the ability to respect and accept others, perseverance: the ability to never give up when faced with hardships, honesty: the ability to know that telling the truth even when difficult is best, and courage the ability to the strength to overcome fear or to accept a risk in life.
Reading BIG Words
As you listen to your child read, you may notice he or she will mumble or muffle their voice on certain words. I bet its a word your child doesn't know or doesn't want to stop and figure it out! It surprises me how often my students can read the words if I point it out and hold them accountable for all words. If your child doesn't know the word, then it is time to break it up into syllables. Syllables are parts of words. Students who have difficulty in sounding out longer words don't naturally see the units in words. We must teach the following rules to them as they are reading. Keep the following chart next to you as you listen to your child read, so that you can refer to the syllable pattern. (The V indicates vowel and the C indicates a consonant.)