Many students struggle in the area of reading in one way or another. All other subjects depend on it. And it’s a critical life skill. Children who struggle with reading often become frustrated and lose that love for reading. However, there are strategies students can acquire to help them become successful and lifelong lovers of reading.
Here are some reading tips and strategies for elementary-aged children:
Learn parts of words. If children are able to see smaller words inside larger words then they are much more likely to be able to figure out the word. It can also help them with recognition of word patterns in similar words they may come across in their reading.
Meaningful substitutions are important. Many times students are able to figure out the beginning or ending parts of a word. If this is the case, have them substitute the word with a word they are familiar with that has the same spelling or sound pattern. Have them plug that word in so they can continue to try and create meaning as they read. Students can use the context of the sentence to determine the correct word.
“Sounding it out” should not be the only method children have to figure out unfamiliar words. The English language is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn. There are many rules and exceptions to those rules. Take the word read. It has the same exact spelling but in the context of different sentences it has two different meanings AND sounds. This is hard for children to remember. Encourage children to use picture clues and the context of the sentence to help decode the unknown words.
Get to know the “just tight” rule. Children should be reading books that are just right for them. How do they know? They use the “just right” five-finger rule. As students read they should hold up a finger every time they come across a word they don t know how to say OR every time they read a word they cannot define. If they hold up one finger or less, then that book is probably too easy for them. If they have 2-3 fingers up, it is probably just right. If the students have 4 or more fingers up, the book is likely too hard. Remember, each book is different so they should do this with each new book. A good rule of thumb is to have students read at least a page to get an accurate measurement.
Reading with your child every night is crucial. Reading to children is key for them to be able to hear a model of a good reader. They are able to hear tone, inflection, and rate as you read. This helps them with their reading in the long run. By having them read to you, you are able to hear if they are making any errors. If so, they can be discussed and corrected. In addition, having a conversation about what they read can help build comprehension. Dig deep with the questions. This helps their minds really stretch!
These tips are designed to help keep stress to a minimum and the love of reading at a maximum. Happy reading!