tips for parents

Pennez’s vision is to restore the reading outcomes for learners so that youth can read to think. WIth Pennez’s products and service we hope to close the illiteracy gap with our software, after school & summer programming, and storytelling events.

Pennez exists because 65% of youth in our elementary and middle schools read at least 1 or 2 grade levels behind, and 10% of the books that these readers read are written by and about people of color.

Build A Teacher Relationship

For Children who Struggle to Read

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With a struggling reader, he or she really wants to read or just does not want to read because they do not feel as if they can read a complete sentence. There are also other factors as well. Overall a student who struggles to read needs intense support at school and at home. At home your child needs an environment that breathes literacy. For example, there are words in your house, you have posters or printed images that reinforce his or her learning. There is a small library in his or her room. Literacy encompasses reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Supporting a struggling reader takes a lot of time, below are some strategies that might help.

Build A Teacher Relationship

Teachers and Parents have to find a balance where your core relationship is the well-being and growth of your child. When there are terms that you may or may not understand, ask for the definition and request examples of what you can do at home to boost your child’s skills. Do not be afraid to share a gift with your child’s teacher to show gratitude of the work they do. Offer to volunteer and see how you can further support. Building the relationship with your child’s teacher can show how much you both can work as a team.

    • Communication: Find different methods that works best for you and your child’s educator.
    • Goals: Know what academic, social, and emotional needs that your child needs during the school year.
    • Respect: Focusing on the needs of your child is important, and build respect for one another. Approach your relationship as a way to collaborate, solve challenges, and celebrate successes.
  • Awareness: Try to have awareness about the academic skills of your child such as his or her reading level, abilities in science, mathematic skills, and interests. Knowing this can help your meetings and discussions much more fruitful.

Stay Involved: Try to balance your time spent at your child’s school and staying involved to support your child’s teacher and child.

Words & Pictures

Images can be used to learn from even as adults. Do not be afraid to review and study images in order to reinforce what your child is learning. As our society is becoming driven by images, students need to learn how to critically analyze what they are perceiving.

P.O.S.E.R.S. is a critical way of analyzing text.

People, Objects, Setting, Engagement, Relationship, Summary

  • People: Discuss how people are posed, acting, even expressions.
  • Objects: Discuss what the objects look like and their purpose.
  • Setting: Discuss the settings and surroundings.
  • Engagement: Discuss how people are interacting and working together.
  • Relationship: Discuss how the objects in the image relates to the setting.
  • Summary: Describe a conclusion about the image.

Build on Their Interest

Discovering your child’s likes and dislikes can be a critical way of supporting your child’s literacy abilities. For example, if your child loves basketball. Find stories about players, historical topics, science of basketball, creating a new type of basketball, and sharing oral stories about basketball. Then if you see changes, incorporate other topics that support your child’s interests.

  • Engage in daily discussion about what your child did. If you have trouble striking up conversation, then bring up a topic such as the environment, a television show and see how enthusiastic your child engages with that topic.
  • Ask your child’s friends or teacher what he or she selects to do or read when they are together.
  • Ask your child directly.
  • Observe his or her behavior.

Repetition & Consistency

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For Children Who Dislike to Read

“I hate to read. All that we read at school are books about dinosaurs and animals.”

“I’m tired of reading books like Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson. But I want to read about the Mayan Kings and Queens.”

There are a number of factors on why a child dislikes to read. For one, he or she just might not be interested in the content. There could be other reasons such as if your child is influenced by their own peers to be disengaged with academics. Lastly, if your child struggles to read could lead into something that he or she dislikes to read, because it is something he or she is not good at.

Build on Their Interests

  • Outline what your child likes and dislikes. Try to list at least 5-10 topics. After determining this list, find stories, words, and activities that can involve them.
  • Have discussions in the car, while eating breakfast or dinner. These discussions can help you understand more about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Ask Questions: What do you like to do alone or with friends?, What would you do without cell phones or a tv to entertain you?
  • Carve out time to observe and learn about him or her.

Connect Experiences to Stories

  • Connect the topics that your child likes to do. For example, if you are listening to music, watching a movie, doing an activity. Later, discuss a safe online article or a book that connects to the experience that you had.
  • Focus on your child’s creative skills whether it is in photography, illustration, magic, science, video game design, and etc. Allow your child to do a small creative project and use that creative project as a way to connect to the story.

Model Behavior

You are one of your child’s role models whether you believe it or not. Things that you do, your child is hearing, or observing your behaviors.

  • When it is time for your child to read, then the parent/guardian should take a book and read
  • When you are reading, then discuss your own discuss
  • Encourage regular basis


  • Read Magazine Articles
  • Subscribe to child-friendly newsletters
  • Read paragraphs and discuss the best parts about that.
  • Use an Augmented Reality cardboard headset, watch an animation, write a story or create an oral story about the visual.


Have you thought that movement can get your child to think? Encourage to dance, take a walk, or move before reading.

Check out Healthy Hip hop

For Children Who Like to Read

Jamir is a voracious reader. Once he puts a book down, he needs another. However, he is reading too fast, because he does not recall certain chapters. Overall though, he is so excited to read that he is ok reading a new book per day.

Make Reading Fun

  • Frequently select stories that interest them. Also, find topics that are complete opposite to expand their knowledge.
  • Allow them to make choices. Even if you do not like that they are reading graphic novels, or “obsessed” with that topic. Allow your child to make that choice. You can also guide him or her such as, 2 choice, and 1 parent choice or academic.

Goal Setting

  • Make goal setting a consistent part of your day-to-day routine. It is important that they are realistic and flexible.
  • Do not stress on the reward, focus on the skills being gained and outcome.

Social Reading Opportunities

  • Create a private online forum for his or her friends and discuss what they are reading and other topics around that story.
  • Be intentional when his or or her friends are over, encourage a 15-30 minute activity around a book. You would not be reading.
  • Create a reading club with friends, and go beyond the book. Ensure during this club that youth are reading a book, but include games, audiobooks, or alternatives that help them learn about the book differently.

Connect to Real World

  • You want to take the story outside of the book. Here are some examples.
  • Discuss topics that they experienced, or even experiences that you had. Discuss things he or she observed or

Challenge Them

  • It is exciting to see your child excited about a new skill.
  • Find books above or on their reading level written during their birth year.
  • Theme It Out: Find books from a certain country, genre, topic, or written by certain authors for example books written by Latino authors.
  • Read books that can give him or her realistic ideas to achieve such as on entrepreneurship, design, food production, etc.
  • Have a word challenge. For example, and educator told me that she wanted her children ages 0-3 to learn 30,000 words by the age of 3. You can also do that with your own child.


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