When you think about helping your child GROW in his reading, you may think about:
- Phonics and the beginning reader
- Pace of reading
- Comprehension of what he reads
- Mastery of vocabulary
- Connections with what he reads
Honestly, there are so many ways to improve overall reading, it can be difficult to know where to start.
So here are three EASY ways to know that you’re meeting your reader right where he or she is, regardless of age.
1. Make sure your reader has time reading books that are TOO EASY.
When your child reads books that are easier than his current level, it helps him build reading fluency. Reading fluency is knowing — right off the bat — what the words are, how the sounds are combined to form those words, and your child doesn’t even have to think about it. It’s like asking a 20-year-old what 2+2 equals. They will, of course, answer 4 without batting an eyelash. It’s because they’ve become fluent in their addition math facts.
2. Make sure your reader has time reading books that are JUST RIGHT.
We all love a “just right” book, even as adults. The characters are absorbed easily, we can immerse ourselves fully into the story, we’re not wondering what certain words mean as we go from chapter to chapter. The benefit of reading a “just right” book is that it creates a love of the story itself. And if your child can love a story, he is far more equipped to grow in his love of reading.
3. Make sure your reader spends time reading books that are JUST A LITTLE TOO HARD.
Of course, we don’t want your reader to be frustrated, so we don’t recommend choosing Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea for your 6-year-old. However, when we choose a book with an unfamiliar word or two, it challenges our readers to go just a little further than where they are. And that’s a good thing!
Frequently Asked Questions about Reading
What if my reader is a “late bloomer” and still struggles?
If your child hasn’t started reading comfortably on his own yet, that is okay. Research tells us that children all read at different times. It takes a while for it to click, and we don’t want you to feel like your child is behind. Try reading aloud to him or her and cultivating a love of hearing stories. Over time and as he or she practices, it will all come together.
What if my child does not LOVE to read?
For the child who does not love to read, may we suggest the same thing — reading aloud to him or her? While the roots of not enjoying reading may differ, your child can enjoy stories that will eventually (very likely) lead to an enjoyment of reading for himself or herself.
Reading together can be a stress reliever for all families.
At Learnwell, we aren’t just interested in your child’s academic health — we know that the whole child benefits when the whole family operates from a healthy place. That includes stress management! Reading is JUST ONE TOOL for stress relief. Listening to stories in unconventional ways also counts as reading for calm. Think about story-based podcasts for kids or radio programs such as The Adventures in Odyssey.
A Read-Aloud List to Get You Started
If you are looking for some read-aloud books that the entire family can enjoy, look no further! These are some of our favorite must-read family titles:
- The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall
- A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
- Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
- Sweet Home Alaska by Carol Estby Dagg
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Want to learn more about our reading must-haves? Grab some additional suggestions on our age & stage recommended reading lists.