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How To Improve Your Kid’s Reading

How To Improve Your Kid’s Reading

Below are ways you can use to help you kid improve his/her reading.

Introduce New Material

Parents must give their kids as many possibilities as they can to listen to stories, read out loud to create their own perspectives. It’s important to introduce new literature into your child’s life, whether that means telling a different story every night or picking a new book for your child to read every week.

Use Everyday Life As Inspiration For New Reading Material

The next method could possibly be useful for parents trying to stimulate and boost their kid’s reading .

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Always consider everyday life as inspiration for new reading material with your child.  Whether you are buying groceries, going to the doctor’s office or at the park with your kids, there’s probably a book about it. Go further and explore themes that relate to the places your kids and you went today. Perhaps read a book about insects to your kids; then go to the park and have your kids find insects and draw them.

Read A Lot

Read children’s storybooks a lot. How frequently does it happen that your kid insists on reading a book again and again? At a young age children typically ask us to read their preferred book to them, often times over and over. Even though we might personally think it is fairly tedious, this is a mistake. Books ought to be read over and over again fo,r re-reading basically helps youngsters build greater reading abilities. They may have missed something they now picked up on during the third reading.

Ask What Their Thoughts Are On The Book

Once you’ve read a story along with your child, ask questions about what they have just read. Ask contextual and analytical questions. Some context questions may be: “What did Penny do?” or ” was she crying?” This may help you child have a better understanding of the narrative.

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Analytical questions may seem like they’re just for adults, but they’re actually for everyone because they get promote thinking and discussion. Analytical questions may be: “What do you think the book was about? Why?” or “Why do you think the story ended the way it did?” It doesn’t matter what your child’s answer is; asking analytical questions helps promote kids’ own thought processes and opinions.

Try To Control TV Time

Although it is hard to compete with television and video games, it is important that children recognize that reading can also be entertaining. Make an effort to promote reading as a fun event, one that may even be more fun that TV or video games.

Be Patient

When reading, children might have troubles due to new terms. Making looking up new words fun by search searching the (online) dictionary together. In addition to the meaning, make sure your child understands what the word sounds like.

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Choose The Appropriate Level Of Reading For Your Child

Choose the most appropriate reading level for your child. It’s critical your child discovers it knows it’s a doable book. They need to find reading the book a fun task. Still, don’t choose books that may be too easy—it’s ok if there’s words in it your child may not understand (time to look them up and sound them out!).

Read Aloud in Turns

This can be a special moment for you to enjoy with your child. Have your child read one paragraph, you the next. Forming positive reading memories will help make reading to your child positive and fun.

Use Specific Vocabulary When You Talk To Your Child

If your child says “stuff,” “things,” or other vague words, make sure to correct him/her by asking what is that specific “stuff,” “thing,” or vague word is. Make sure you don’t say vague words around the house as children can easily pick up on it, including it in their vocabulary. For instance, instead of telling your child to “pick up your things,” tell them to “pick up their toys.”

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Featured photo credit: Ned Horton/http://www.freeimages.com via freeimages.com

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Published on June 30, 2020

What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

Many conversations are being held nowadays regarding unconscious bias, but what does it really mean and how can it affect your life and the people around you? With many types of biases, it can get quite confusing. In this article, we’ll touch on cognitive bias, and then zero in on unconscious bias. Both types of biases have an immediate impact on your life because they relate to how you and others think about yourself and other people.

If you want to protect your relationships and make good decisions about other people, you need to know what these biases mean[1]. Once we have clarity about that, we can explore in more depth unconscious bias and how to address it[2].

Cognitive Bias

Let’s start with cognitive bias[3], a predictable pattern of mental errors that result in us misperceiving reality and, as a result, deviating away from the most likely way of reaching our goals[4].

These mental blind spots impact all areas of our life, from health to relationships and even shopping, as a study recently revealed[5]. In other words, from the perspective of what is best for us as individuals, falling for a cognitive bias always harms us by lowering our probability of getting what we want.

Cognitive biases have to do with judgment, not mood. Ironically, cognitive biases — such as the optimism bias and overconfidence effect — more often lead to positive moods. Of course, the consequence of falling into cognitive biases, once discovered, usually leaves us in a bad mood due to the disastrous results of these dangerous judgment errors.

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Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is different from cognitive bias. Also known as implicit bias, it refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, age, and so on[6]. Despite cognitive biases sometimes leading to discriminatory thinking and feeling patterns, these are two separate and distinct concepts.

Cognitive biases are common across humankind and relate to the particular wiring of our brains, while unconscious bias relates to perceptions between different groups and are specific for the society in which we live. For example, I bet you don’t care or even think about whether someone is a noble or a commoner, yet that distinction was fundamentally important a few centuries ago across Europe. To take another example, most people in the US don’t have strong feelings about Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, yet this distinction is incredibly meaningful in many parts of the world.

Unconscious Bias and Discriminatory Behavior

Organizations often bring me in as a speaker on diversity and inclusion to address potential unconscious discriminatory behavior. When I share in speeches that black Americans suffer from police harassment and violence at a much higher rate than white people, some participants (usually white) occasionally try to defend the police by claiming that black people are more violent and likely to break the law than whites. They thus attribute police harassment to the internal characteristics of black people (implying that it is deserved), and not to the external context of police behavior.

In reality – as I point out in my response to these folks – research shows that black people are harassed and harmed by police at a much higher rate for the same kind of activity. A white person walking by a cop, for example, is statistically much less likely to be stopped and frisked than a black one[7].

At the other end of things, a white person resisting arrest is much less likely to be violently beaten than a black one. In other words, statistics show that the higher rate of harassment and violence against black Americans by police is due to the prejudice of the police officers, at least to a large extent[8].

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However, I am careful to clarify that this discrimination is not necessarily intentional. Sometimes, it indeed is deliberate, with white police officers consciously believing that black Americans deserve much more scrutiny than whites. At other times, the discriminatory behavior results from unconscious, implicit thought processes that the police officer would not consciously endorse[9].

After becoming aware that unconscious bias does exist, the next step would be learning how to recognize it in order to reduce it. I’ve outlined three crucial points to keep in mind below while further exploring the unconscious prejudice discussed above.

How to Reduce Unconscious Bias

Remember these three important points if you want to work on reducing your unconscious bias.

1. Unconscious Bias is a Systemic Issue

When we understand that unconscious bias is ultimately a systemic issue, we understand that internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.

Interestingly, research shows that many black police officers have an unconscious prejudice against other black people, perceiving them in a more negative light than white people when evaluating potential suspects. This unconscious bias carried by many — not all — black police officers helps show that such prejudices come – at least to a significant extent – from internal cultures within police departments, rather than pre-existing racist attitudes present before someone joins a police department.

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Such cultures are perpetuated by internal norms, policies, and training procedures, and any police department wishing to address unconscious bias needs to address internal culture first and foremost, rather than attributing racism to individual officers.

In other words, instead of saying it’s a few bad apples in a barrel of overall good ones, the key is recognizing that unconscious bias is a systemic issue, and the structure and joints of the barrel needs to be fixed[10].

2. There Is No Shame in Unconscious Bias

Another crucial thing that needs to be highlighted is that there is no shame or blame in unconscious bias as it’s not stemming from any fault in the individual. This no-shame approach decreases the fight, freeze, or flight defensive response among reluctant audiences, helping them hear and accept the issue.

Unconscious bias is prevalent and often doesn’t match our conscious values. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs and prejudices stemming from our tendency to categorize people into social groups. This developed naturally as a way for our ancestors to quickly size up a possible threat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well in modern life.

3. It Takes a Sustained Effort to Prevent and Protect Against Unconscious Bias

After being presented with additional statistics and discussion of unconscious bias, the issue is generally settled. Still, from their subsequent behavior it’s clear that some of these audience members don’t immediately internalize this evidence. It’s much more comforting for their gut reactions to believe that police officers are right and anyone targeted by police deserves it; in turn, they are highly reluctant to accept the need to focus more efforts and energy on protecting black Americans from police violence due to the structural challenges facing these groups.

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The issue of unconscious bias doesn’t match their intuitions, so they reject this concept, despite extensive and strong evidence for its pervasive role in policing. It takes a series of subsequent follow-up conversations and interventions to move the needle. A single training is almost never sufficient, both in my experience and according to research[11].

Conclusion

The examples and points raised illustrate broader patterns you need to follow to recognize unconscious bias. Only by doing so will you be able to determine if, and what type of, intervention is needed to address it.

Unfortunately, our gut reactions lead us to make poor judgment choices when we simply follow our intuitions. Unconscious biases are systemic and need to be addressed in order to make the best decisions[12].

We need to learn about the kind of problems that result from unconscious bias. Then, you need to develop the right mental habits to help you make the best choices[13]. A one-time training is insufficient for doing so. It takes a long-term commitment and constant discipline and efforts to overcome unconscious bias, so get started now.

More Tips on Overcoming Unconscious Bias

Featured photo credit: M.T ElGassier via unsplash.com

Reference

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