7 steps to helping a child be a more fluent reader
1. Find some quiet time and space
In a busy home, finding the right environment can be difficult, but the results are worth it. Try to use the same spot every day, a corner of your child’s room for example with cushions on the floor is very cosy. Even try getting up 10 minutes earlier in the morning, it can become a very special time. I choose the book the night before with my child and we leave the book in our “reading nook” so we are both connected to the activity.
2. Choose the right reading material
Children are experimenting all the time with books. They are opening themselves up to topics and subjects that they may really enjoy. It is important to provide a variety of reading material covering different topics.
3. Start with a conversation
What is the book about? What does the title and the pictures suggest? These prompts help children to read with purpose.
4. Choose a variety of reading methods
There are many styles of reading.
- Paired reading, when a teacher or parent reads with a child to model good reading and to support the child’s own efforts.
- Assisted reading, when you read a part of the text and let the child take over so you’re sharing the primary reader role.
- Chorus reading, Parent and child read together out loud. This is a great way to help a child with tone and expressions.
- Echo reading, This is really effective for children experiencing difficulties with fluency. Firstly, you read the sentence, then you and the child read the sentence together and then the child reads alone. A great way of modelling and scaffolding together!
5. Maximise on your high-frequency words
These are words that occur again and again in reading building vocabulary. Pay particular attention to these words and reinforce them with your child as they come up.
6. Teach your child to enunciate
Model expression and varied tones in your reading. This can be great fun if your really exaggerate, use accents and hand gestures.
7. End with discussion and PRAISE
Even if progress has been slow, talk to your child about the meaning of what they’ve read and make a date for the next session!