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CAMP KINSER, Okinawa — Last week TaShauna Edwards made a big change in her house: No more television during the day.

Instead she would start reading to her second-grader, something she hadn’t really done before.

“He wanted to watch TV, and I figured he would get enough reading done at school,” Edwards said. “But I was starting to become concerned that he wasn’t interested in reading.”

She picked up the TV-free tip from a new program at Kinser Elementary School in which monthly meetings offer parents techniques to help their children with literacy skills.

“Most parents are expert readers, but that doesn’t mean you can explain how to read to a child,” said Barb Treadway, Kinser’s literacy specialist, who teaches the meetings. “Reading is a complicated process, because you have to do so many things at one time. It’s a hard thing to teach.”

Over the course of the school year, parents will learn about discussing literary elements, the characteristics of a good reader and, among other things, molding their children into engaged, active readers.

Treadway said she also will try to answer some of the parents’ questions about the learning process, such as: “Why does my child get a 100 percent on spelling tests but can’t spell any of the words the next week?”

At the first meeting last week, Treadway talked about the best way to read aloud and stressed the importance of reading to children even when they have already learned to read by themselves.

“I didn’t know that,” said Debbie Rotsch, who attended that meeting and plans on doing so throughout the year. “I want to teach my son to love reading, but how do you do that?”

Just knowing that she should be reading to her third-grader “totally made the whole class,” she said, explaining she had been fearful of making reading a chore.

“I know now we all got to jump in there and read together,” she said. “That’s important, so we leave the dishes. I say ‘forget them’ and we go read.”

Reading meetings

Meetings to help parents learn how to boost kids’ reading skills are held the first Wednesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Kinser Elementary School.

Each meeting will focus on a different topic, such as proficient reading strategies, phonics and spelling.

— Megan McCloskey

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