By: Guest Author: Andrea Gibbs
Reading fluency is essential for learning. Fluency in reading allows children to approach text with open minds and understand what they are reading. For some children, learning to read fluently will take the form of being able to read quietly on their own. For others, reading fluency must be developed using various tools and interventions. To boost your child's reading fluency, here are a few strategies that can engage your child in a variety of activities.
Model Good Fluency In Reading
Show them how to read with fluency. Set aside time each day to practice reading out loud to your child. It will not only give them insight into how fluent readers read, but it will give them opportunities to see what fluent reading looks like. This type of modeling is one of the most powerful ways to begin building fluency in your child, and since they probably see it as fun and engaging, they will be more likely to continue working on their reading skills on their own.
Guide Your Child To Track Words
When learning a language, it can be hard to understand where one word ends and the next word starts when listening to a fluent conversation. It can be especially true for children trying to follow along during story time. Tracking or running your finger under words as you read them can be helpful in this situation. You can track while reading to your child or ask them to track when they are reading aloud. When little ones are first learning to read, it is crucial for them to touch each word in order to understand the correspondence between spoken and written language. It is a strategy to help them improve. With time, they will be able to read bigger phrases without having to read each word separately. Equip your little one with plastic “figure fingers,” like small puppets to make tracking words more fun!
Emphasize Sight Words
You may notice that your little one struggles with words like “house” or “walk.” These are sight words. Sight words are common words that are not decodable by sounding them out phonetically. They often overlap with high-frequency words, which are those that frequently appear in children's text. If your child memorizes what these words look like and can recognize them instantly, they won't have to waste reading time trying to sound them out. You can turn teaching sight words into a fun game: Spell the sight words out with magnetic letters, write them on a piece of paper, or get a little crazy and splat the right word with a feather duster or fly swatter when you say it. It helps practice memorizing and gives a sense of accomplishment.
Bring In A Friendly Audience
Have your child read aloud to a favorite stuffed animal or a family member. It will encourage them to read fluently without fearing the consequences of making mistakes. You can also have them read their favorite story to pictures hanging on the wall or buy them a light-up book (for reading at bedtime). This way, they not only get familiar with reading aloud, but they will also be less inhibited. It is a wonderful way for your little one to develop self-confidence and get used to speaking and reading out loud, which is important for independent and effective communication in the future.
Enroll Children In Preschools
While beginning reading fluency is first nurtured at home, it is also fostered at school. It can be helpful for children to have a more formal education. There are many preschools that cater to developing literacy of young minds by providing specialized one-on-one attention and different activities geared toward specific literacy goals. Look for preschools that use products that supplement literacy curriculum, like Learning Ally's PreK-2 reading program, Excite Reading, which helps instructors and/or teachers who work in preschools and other early childhood education facilities to teach preschoolers and young readers to read more fluently, and comprehend what they read.
Andrea Gibbs is a blog contributor at Montessori Academy. She is dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Max.
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