4 Activities to Improve Reading Skills (Part 4 – Writing)January 10th, 2018
There are 4 easy to implement activities that each take just a few minutes a day to improve reading.
- Improve reading fluency in 5 minutes a day
- Improve spelling and learn the 8 ways we put letters together to make words
- Improve reading comprehension by playing a reading comprehension game
- Improve writing skills using specially designed graphic organizers
Today, I’m going to talk about the fourth activity to help your children improve their reading skills by working on their writing skills.
The 4th Activity to Improve Reading Skills – Writing
One of the easiest ways to improve reading skills with writing is to use fill-in-the-blank graphic organizers. They make note-taking, paragraph writing, and essay writing easy. As a parent, I hated watching my son struggle with a writing assignment. He would stare at a blank piece of paper for what would seem like hours. I’m sure you sometimes feel the same way.
One of the best things I found to do to alleviate my son’s pain of writing, was to create graphic organizers that were easy for him to fill in. Then, he wasn’t staring at a blank sheet of paper anymore. It was so much easier for him to fill in the blanks and within about 10 minutes he’d have his notes done. His life became easier and my life became easier too. No longer were we battling each other over him doing his homework.
How does writing improve reading skills?
You may not immediately think that writing has a direct correlation to improving students’ reading skills, but writing can do a couple of things. First, it can help them tremendously in building their reading comprehension. This is especially true if they are writing with pencil and paper with their hands. This is a tactile and visual way of reinforcing the information that they just read. Have your students keep a few colored pencils with them to underline key topics or to make groupings based on traits. Taking notes can also help build active recall skills. What did I just read? Why is this important? How does this relate to my life? Writing also can help students organize ideas from what they have read. Writing gives students a platform to add their own opinion to a topic, helping them build critical thinking skills.
Often, students don’t take notes in a way that they can easily use.
What is the point of taking notes if you won’t be able to use them later? Over the years, I’ve had students bring me the notes that they took in class when they were looking for additional help. The sad thing was that they couldn’t make heads or tails out of their notes. Sometimes they used a ‘webbing’ system. The problem with the basic webbing system was that there was no hierarchy to what was important. The information was as scattered in their minds as it was in their notes.
The notes were just too hard for them to follow. Upon this realization, I strategically designed graphic organizers in a clear, linear method. This way students, whether they had perception problems or not, could easily use the notes they took. It isn’t enough to just take notes. You need to be able to use them after you’ve taken them.
Graphic Organizers Improve Memory Retention and Decrease Time of Taking Notes
Donna Walker Tileston, author of What Every Teacher Should Know About the Brain states, “Approximately 87% of learners either need to see the learning or do something with it. Using visuals with the learning will help students take in the information more efficiently, but even more important, it helps them to develop their own methods for organizing content.”
Using pictographs, charts and graphs, graphic organizers, and note-taking models is the way to do this. So, give the graphic organizers from Ten Minutes to Better Writing and Study Skills a try. I created them in such a way that once students fill them out, they will actually be able to use them for study guides. The organizers also help turn notes into paragraphs, or rough drafts into final copies.
FREE Note Taking Graphic Organizer
For a sneak peek and an organizer to help with older students taking notes on topics from a textbook or online resources, download the free Topic Note Taking form here.
Graphic Organizers: New Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills Book
We have completed our new Ten Minutes to Better Writing and Study Skills book! It includes updates to all of the graphic organizers and over 30 brand new organizers. We have a whole new section dedicated to executive function and planning skills. Ten Minutes to Better Writing and Study Skills works with younger kids to even adults who want to organize their information a bit better. It will grow with your younger kids as they engage in more complicated curriculum throughout the years.