Does your child pick up a book to read on her own? What motivates her to read? Take a look at what your child is reading now.
You’ll find that
- The book is from a genre (mystery/fantasy/non-fiction) that she likes.
- She can decode the words with ease and understands the meaning of most of the words.
- If she reads a picture book, she looks at the pictures intently. If she reads a chapter book, she flips back to some of the earlier pages to refer to or find something to connect to the current page’s information.
A is related to her interest, B indicates her fluency, and C, to her level of comprehension and the strategies she uses to understand the text. All three factors influence your child’s decision or desire to pick up a book and read.
Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and smoothly, and with expression. When you work with your child’s reading fluency, encourage your child to read aloud. Only then can you determine if your child is skipping or guessing unfamiliar words or decoding them correctly.
Tips to foster fluency in reading:
Let children pick books and genres that interest them.
Many Indian parents want their kids to enjoy the books they enjoyed as kids. Understandable, but how closely do your child’s interests mimic your own? Your child is more likely to pick up a book to read independently if the choices interest her.
Choose books at the right reading level.
Indian parents like to challenge their kids in academics, and the most common strategy they use is to expose their children to advanced levels of work. The reading material should be at the reading level to develop your child’s fluency, not beyond it. Since fluency has to do with accuracy, your child should not ‘guess’ a word. She has to read them correctly.
To find out if the book is at your child’s independent reading level, ask your child to read a page aloud. Count the number of words your child can’t read on a page. If your child puts out five fingers, then the book is too advanced for her. If you feel that the book will interest her, then read it to her. Reading aloud is not only for young kids. This book may be the right choice for you, the parent, to read aloud rather than for independent reading.
Model good reading skills.
When you read to your child, she listens to how you use intonation and volume to indicate what is happening in the book. When you pause for a comma, the way you chunk phrases, the rise and fall of your voice as you follow the plot enhances her comprehension. When it is her turn, the child will imitate these patterns.
When you read to your child, you can expose her to reading material beyond her interests. How you read with expression can highlight critical aspects of different genres. The chances are that the next time your child reaches for a book, she will select something different from her usual choices.
Listen to audiobooks.
Your child can either read along or listen to the story. Either way, the audiobook reader models fluent reading.
Encourage your child to reread books.
With multiple reading, your child develops stronger word recognition skills, and accuracy increases. Good word recognition skills allow your child to focus more on the expression and pace of reading.
Have older siblings or cousins read to younger children.
This activity works well for both groups of kids. The older child’s fluency increases while the younger child listens to fluent reading. In a turn-taking activity, the fluent reader reads aloud a passage first, and the second child reads the same passage next.
Consider your child’s interests and reading level when choosing reading material to foster fluency in reading.
Rama is a special educator with over twenty-five years of experience working with children and parents. Rama has two passions: Parent empowerment and raising mental health awareness. She works to make evidence-based information easily accessible to parents and teachers, enabling them to be active participants in children's education and welfare. Rama's perspective is shaped by her work experience with different age groups in several countries. Her interest in adopting these best practices for the Indian education environment leads her to collaborate with other professionals in education.