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Big changes in grades 2 and 3


Editor's note: In her biweekly column, Jerdine Nolen comments today on coaching transitional readers.

Second- and third-graders make many dramatic changes. Their confidence grows. They begin reading easier texts on their own and, with practice, move into more difficult books. Your role as supporter is vital. Continue to make time daily to read to your children. Or, have them read to you or younger readers.

Second/Third-Graders enjoy:

* Reading silently and listening to stories.

* Showing off their reading skills.

* Reading beginning-to-read chapter books ("Henry & Mudge," "Frog & Toad").

* Hearing more difficult stories than they are able to read ("Animorphs," "American Girl," "Stories from Sideways School," etc.).

* Playing with words (rhyming, jokes, opposites, synonyms) words that mean about the same (big and enormous).

* Reading informational books (encyclopedia, thesaurus, recipe, craft) to follow directions.

* Writing/telling the beginning, middle and end.

* Playing games involving reading (Monopoly, Life, Clue, etc.).

Second/Third Graders can:

* Understand basic punctuation (period, comma, question, quotation marks).

* Decode/sound out words (dividing word into syllables, etc.).

* Read using picture clues, context clues (explain word meanings based on its use), word patterns, sight words, etc.

* Discuss/summarize main idea and relate personal experiences.

* Read simple directions and follow them (craft books, recipes, ,, etc.).

* Make inferences, "read between the lines."

* Recognize and choose different types of books (fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, mystery).

* Retell plot and story events.

Consider choosing books:

* About families alike and different from yours.

* That are part of a series.

* That allow children to read to follow directions or gather information (recipes).

* Within your child's interest (sports, famous people, etc.) and those they may not choose.

* You enjoy reading aloud to and along with your child.

* Such as reference materials (atlas, thesaurus, dictionary, etc.).

A resident of Ellicott City, Jerdine Nolen is the award-winnin children's author of "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm" and "Raising Dragons." She is a former teacher and administrator in elementary education, and has personally field-tested her suggestions on her son and daughter.

Pub Date: 12/13/98

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