After a summer break, students may benefit from a reminder that reading is fun. Parents can share a good book with their children and model powerful reading strategies which the students will be applying in Readers' Workshop throughout Lamorinda, Walnut Creek and San Ramon K-8 schools this fall, which are now in full swing. This reading on a deeper level is what Common Core is asking of students.

Many parents did not grow up in classrooms in which reading a book was interactive, but today's classrooms help students make meaning out of stories by giving them strategies for reflection and comprehension. Books can come alive for kids of all ages.

You'll need some tools -- post-it notes and a pencil, a dictionary, possibly a map and a good book to share.

Ask questions together. Look at the title and the cover. What do you think the book will be about? Talk about why the author chose the particular place and how it supports the story.

As you read, jot a post-it note and place it on a page where you want to remember something that interests you. You might have a question, a prediction or an opinion. Write your reaction on the post-it to share at the end of the reading. It's especially fun to write a post-it that begins, "This reminds me of ..." or "I'm wondering ..." Personal connections help readers empathize with characters or take a greater interest in what is happening.


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Periodically talk about what the main character is like. Most stories revolve around a main character who has a problem or wants something. Be sure to identify what the main character is after, and make predictions about how the problem will get solved. Make new predictions as the story unfolds.

When authors use words in creative or appealing ways and you want to remember such passages, mark them with a post-it note on the appropriate page to discuss together later. Review together what has happened in the story before continuing to read.

In classrooms, many teachers ask students to review the story across their fingers. Put up the first finger and complete the sentence "In the beginning ..." Add the next finger and continue, "Next ..." The third finger can add words like, "Following that ..." The fourth point might be, "Then ... " and the fifth finger will conclude with "Finally ..." It's not easy to work through a plot line, but telling the story "across the fingers" helps readers recall the details and summarizes the action.

Enjoy books together and send your child back to school eager for Readers' Workshop.

Christine W. Deane of Lafayette resident is a member of the Contra Costa County Board of Education.