Often times, parents will ask how can they help their child become a stronger reader. There are several components necessary for building a strong reader and when one of the components is weaker, it can affect other areas such as comprehension. The components include:
Phonemic awareness skills-which is having the ability to manipulate sounds that make up our spoken language
Phonics skills-which is having the understanding that there are relationships between letters and sounds
Fluency skills-which is reading with accuracy, speed, and expression (or prosody)
Application of reading comprehension strategies to enhance their understanding, and they should enjoy what they are reading. Reading should be fun!
Within these components, a child must also utilize known strategies for decoding new words, know how to figure out the meaning of new vocabulary, and pull that together for smooth fluency. Some children learn these reading skills regardless of how they are taught while other children truly need these skills taught explicitly meaning they need them taught through direct instruction.
There can be a fine line between a struggling reader and a reluctant reader. A struggling reader will be having difficulties with one or more of the above areas and, often times, as the child gets older can “mask” those missed skills. A reluctant reader could be a struggling reader or could be that he/she hasn’t yet developed the overall fluency skills necessary to enjoy a book. I do want to remind parents that reader’s theatre passages, comic books, graphic novels and poetry books are good resources to use for having a student choose a book or reading material that he/she is interested in. It’s also important for a child to be choosing independent reading books that is “just right”. What does “just right” mean? It means that your child can open a book to any given page and have less than five decoding errors. Plus, they should be able to tell you what was read.
If you want to strengthen your child’s overall reading, it’s important to first determine the area or areas he/she needs to focus on. If your child is struggling overall with comprehension then it’s possible he/she needs help with the three previous skills stated above.
I’ll work on typing up a “series” of reading information and strategies for the different components above. In the meantime, if you have any specific questions please e-mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have some helpful reading resources and books on our Pinterest page. You can check them out here https://www.pinterest.com/confidentsoluti/boards/
With love of reading,