Like the rest of the world, we are obsessed with the new Avengers movie, Infinity War. The plot revolves around possession of extremely powerful gems called the infinity stones. For the folks reading who aren’t Marvel fans, (Why aren’t you?) we will list the stones. They actually relate to some very important rules for promoting reading with your child.
There are six stones and each one correlates to a different rule. Like the gems, these rules are extremely powerful. The stones are: the time stone, the power stone, the reality stone, the space stone, the soul stone, and the mind stone. Later this week, we will be releasing a freebie related to this topic. We want you to take these rules into consideration when reading with your kiddo. But also, discuss the stones together to get their perspective on each area. Everyone likes control and we should respect children’s perspectives about how they learn best whenever possible! The Avengers know they are stronger when they work together. Your child will feel better knowing you are on their side, helping them improve their reading skills! Our freebie will have cards for each stone and discussion points to help you guide the conversation with your child. Now on to our gauntlet guidelines!
The Time Stone
When we mention the time stone, we are referring to time spent reading. The gold standard is thirty minutes a day, but many families have difficulty meeting this goal and give up completely. Some time spent reading is better than none! The idea is to spend as much time as possible because more literacy time, means more exposure to new words, which builds both decoding and language skills. To help your child improve, make sure you spend SOME time each day reading together. If this isn’t currently in your routine, start with ten minutes a day. If reading is not a preferred activity for your kiddo, then work on extending the time subtly, by adding just a minute or two to each session. You can also try asking your child how much time they would like to spend reading so they know their input matters. Keep in mind that they may be more okay with extending the time once their reading skills start to improve. Letting them pick the time slot when they would prefer to read is also another option.
The Space Stone
This is especially important for kiddos who do not enjoy reading time. Set the stage for success! Find a space that will make your child as comfortable as possible. It might be as simple as getting cozy in a favorite chair. Or maybe you can create a reading space with pillows and sheets, like a fort. Or perhaps you bring a special snack to your reading space to make the setting extra welcoming. Again, take your child’s input here because the more comfortable they are, the less resistance you’ll experience!
The Reality Stone
Books aren’t the only way to expose children to text. Don’t forget to provide functional opportunities for reading! Some ideas for practice include working with grocery lists, holiday shopping lists, menus, and cooking directions. Your kiddo could help you compose lists and/or check items off them as you shop. When the activity is done, provide praise for doing a great job reading. This will continue to help them build positive experiences with literacy!
The Mind Stone
It is important to stimulate your child’s mind with discussion about the texts you read. Pose comprehension questions before, during, and after reading. There are two reasons for doing this. The first is that questions allow you to assess comprehension of the story. The second is that you are teaching an important skill. You are modeling how to read a text, pose questions, and delve deeper into the content. As adult readers we know that the best books make us question everything. They are the ones that keep us thinking and guessing. To help our kids connect with texts and think “out of the box,” we most model our own questioning and thought processes aloud for them! (Make sure you check our freebie for suggestions if presenting this stone to your kiddo challenges you.)
The Soul Stone
This rule really requires you to focus in on the individual needs of your child here. It’s imperative to find what speaks to their little soul and use it to motivate them. If they love animals, read some books about animals. Sometimes that might mean sacrificing high quality literature for some commercialized texts featuring a favorite character. It is okay to make these sacrifices because we have to look at the bigger picture: Your kiddo is having a positive experience with reading! And it isn’t the only text they are exposed to because you’re using the entire gauntlet to build their skills!
The Power Stone
Remember to empower your kiddo to love reading! How do we do that? We provide frequent access to multiple kinds of text. Expose your child to information at or a little above reading level to help them constantly progress. (Only provide slightly above level text sometimes, because if it’s always too hard, they’ll be frustrated.) It is a slippery slope because if the text is too easy, they will be bored. Most importantly, empower your kiddo by giving them positive praise about their specific improvements. Some areas to consider complimenting are: decoding a challenging word, having a positive attitude, asking a great question, making an insightful inference, not giving up, reading a little longer. (We provide more on our freebie!)
These gauntlet guidelines will help you and your child to take over the universe! Which stone do you think is most important for your child’s success? Share in the comments below.