Read The Instructions

February 01, 2016

Whether your youngster is doing a school assigment or building a model car, he needs to be able to follow written directions. Suggest these three steps for success.

1. Repeat and rephrase
First, your child should read the instructions all the way through for an overview of what to do. Repeating them in his own words can help, too. If he reads, “Identify the point of view, and give your opinion on why the author chose it,” he might say, “Name the narrator, and explain why he was the best one to tell the story.”

2. Clear up confusion
Now, have your youngster do a quick self-check. Does he understand everything the instructions tell him to do? He can reread any confusing parts and look up words he doesn’t know. If he’s still stuck, he could ask someone for help.

3. Underline key words
Next, encourage him to underline each action. Example: “Insert tab A into slot B, and glue it in place.” When they’re all marked, he could number the steps to ensure he doesn’t skip one. Finally, have him check off each step as he completes it.

Name those directions!
To practice reading and understanding instructions, play this game: Read aloud instructions from objects around the house (cake mix, washing machine) — but don’t tell your youngster what they’re for. Can he identify the source? Then, let him find and read a set of instructions for you to guess.

For more great ways you can work together with your child for learning success, be sure to check out this month’s Reading Connection Newsletters for grades K-2 and grades 3-5.

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