Reading the newspaper together is great practice for big tests.

It involves a lot of details and facts for your child to remember, so go slowly. Naturally, this activity is beneficial for the test because your child must read and interpret, but it’s also a good way to get your child interested in current events early on!

Step 1: Pick a section of the newspaper to use. You can choose a news article, an editorial, the comics, sports, or a part of the entertainment section. Start with a section that your child has an interest in and would enjoy reading about.

Step 2: When he’s done reading, ask your child some basic, or literal, questions about the piece: “How many strikeouts did the pitcher have last night? How many stars did that movie get?” These questions help sharpen your child’s level of attentiveness and make him more aware of what he’s reading.

Step 3: Once in a while, ask a few interpretive questions about what she’s reading: “How do you think the batter felt, striking out with the bases loaded?” Make your child think a little bit about different situations and how they affect real people as well as movie and comic strip characters. This “higher level” of questioning is great practice for the problems that your child will encounter on the test.

Step 4: When she’s finished reading an article or comic strip, have your child summarize the events and come up with a title for what she just read. Also, ask your child a question that requires some critical thinking: “How would you feel if you blew the game? How could Robot Man have handled that situation better?”

Step 5: Gradually include more higher-level questions and read longer newspaper articles together. Have your child start writing the responses. Finally, see if your child can read an article and answer some questions without your help.

Activities written by Howard I. Berrent, Ph.D. with Caren Churchbuilder of Steck-Vaughn/Berrent Publications.