Rachel Bennett Yanof from the Phoenix Collegiate Academy talks to Sonoran Living about ways to help your child read at grade level.
For more from Rachel’s appearance, scroll down.
Reading at grade level is one of the most important factors leading to student success throughout the education continuum. When parents help their children develop solid reading skills at home, it supports and reinforces what they are learning at school and helps them advance. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 26% of Arizona fourth graders and 28% of Arizona eighth graders are proficient in reading. To help Arizona’s students succeed in college and career, these numbers must improve, and that begins at home.

Rachel Bennet Yanof is the Executive Director of the Phoenix Collegiate Academy. She encourages the parents of her students to be actively involved in their children’s education, especially when it comes to reading. “Through 3rd grade, kids are learning to read,” she says. “But, from 4th grade on, kids are reading to learn.” Yanof explains that a lack of reading comprehension skills inhibits students’ ability to advance in other areas of schooling as well.

All parents, regardless of their own background and skill level, have the ability to help their students learn to read proficiently. There are many ways to help your student advance, and Yanof points out that each student is different, so parents should partner with teachers to determine the best approach for their students. Best practices for parents include:

  • Make sure your child has access to books.
  • With younger children, make sure to read with them at least 15 minutes each day.
  • As your children get older, encourage them to read independently and talk with them about what they are reading.
  • Ask them questions about what they are reading, including: Who is your favorite character? What is the conflict or main issue of the story?
  • Ask the teacher if your child is reading at grade level. If not, ask how you can partner with the teacher to ensure they are reading at grade level by the end of the year.

Last year, Arizona lawmakers passed a bill known as “move on when reading,” which will be implemented in the spring of next year. Under the bill, students in the lowest levels of proficiency of reading in the 3rd grade will not advance to 4th grade. According to the current AIMS results, this would only apply to a small percentage of our students. The goal of the bill is to ensure that when students move on to 4th grade, they will have the essential skill of reading that will help them perform better in all aspects of their education.

Yanof says there are many resources available to assist parents as they help their students advance as readers. First, talk with your student’s school and ask how you can support their reading curriculum. Go to your local public library, where they have resources for all families to help their students. Finally, visit Expect More Arizona’s parent resource section for a grade specific tool with tips, information, and more resources to help students succeed.