RITES’ Academic Support Tutor, Michelle Usenia, taught Language Arts at the Learning Prep School, a private school for children with learning difficulties and disabilities. She also taught first, third and fifth grades and is an expert supporting children through the literacy stages. Michelle supports children from grades 1-3 at the RITES Learning Center in Pawtucket on Sunday mornings. She shares the following information and tips that parents can implement at home to support their children’s reading and writing progress:
How can parents support their children’s learning progress at home?
Parents should read to their children and vice versa. Parents are amazing reading role models! Children can select the books to read, and turns can be taken between parents and children to read chapters, pages or even paragraphs. Children of all ages can be involved in this activity. While reading with older children, little ones can participate by listening, sharing opinions, inferring, asking and answering questions.
Describe children’s reading/writing progress? Should they all reach the same stages at the same time?
- Reading progress: Children go through reading stages at different times and at their own pace. They start with the emergence of basic skills, then become proficient at decoding sounds (phonics), reading sight words and developing some fluency. As their fluency increases, the focus becomes comprehension.
- Writing progress: Children begin by stringing letters together to tell a story, progressing to words with spaces between them and with invented spelling, then adding punctuation. Working from a sentence to a short paragraph and responding to questions, nonfiction writing and narratives.
Are there any signs indicating important difficulties that parents should be aware of?
Some early signs of reading difficulties are:
- Very slow progress acquiring letter sounds and basic sight words
- Lack of automaticity and slow labored reading
- Comprehension is very poor
Is there something else you would like to share about teaching or about yourself?
- The best thing about teaching reading to first graders is when they choose to read and learn to love it right before my eyes!
- I fostered kittens and dogs in the summer for Survivor Tails Animal Rescue. I’m the local intake coordinator for the rescue.
- I live with my husband and two kids Jake and Caroline in Uxbridge, Ma. We have 4 dogs and 4 cats.
- I love to paint and do DIY projects around my home. Right now I’m painting my stairway.
Looking for academic support for your elementary school child? Michelle is available on Sunday mornings at the RITES center in Pawtucket. Need tutors with different availability? Ask us about support tutors, their schedules and locations in Rhode Island. Contact Us!