Readers who are not fluent read slowly and pause at each word. If they are more focused on having to sound out each word, this will hinder their understanding of what they have read. Thus this affects their comprehension and their motivation to read can suffer as they would be frustrated when they complete reading a text and do not understand what they have read.
Here are some tips to help your child at home:
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT BOOKS
Help your child to choose books that he/she can comfortably read. Be aware of your child’s difficulties and abilities. If your child is struggling to read almost every word in a given sentence, the book is too difficult for him/her. Choose a simpler book.
To check the reading level of your book, try this simple test:
- Open the book to the middle and choose a page to read.
- Put out 1 finger for every word you do not know or cannot pronounce.
- If you have 5 fingers out, the book is too difficult to read without help.
- If you do not get any fingers up, the book might be too easy.
2. READ IT AGAIN & MAKE IT FUN
Allow your child to read their favourite book multiple times. Repeated readings help to improve your child’s fluency and increase their understanding. When a child is allowed to read a familiar book over and over again, it increases their confidence in their reading abilities.
Make it fun by asking different questions each time they read.
“What would you do if you are the main character in this book?”
“Which is your favourite part of the story?”
“Let’s change the ending of the story!”
“Let’s read the story in a loud/soft/grumpy/angry/sad voice!”
3. READ TOGETHER WITH YOUR CHILD
When you read together with your child, it removes the pressure and stress on the child. He/She knows that you will be there to help him/her with the unknown words. Reading together would help children who are not confident or feel nervous to read out loud. Choose books that are patterned or predictable (For example; Dr Suess’ or Eric Carle’s books) so they can join you in reading the familiar words.
4. READ TO YOUR CHILD DAILY
Spend some time to read to your child on a daily basis. This allows your child to listen to your fluent reading and provides the child with a model to follow. Even if your child is able to read independently, continue to find time to read aloud to your child. You can take this opportunity to read books that are more challenging to help expand their vocabulary.
5. RECORD YOUR READING
With technology close to us in our day-to-day activities, use it to your advantage. Allow your child to record their voice on your handphone/iPad. Listen to the recording after that and have a fun discussion on how it sounds like. Re-record the same reading on another day and show to your child how much they have improved after repeated readings.
At the end of the day, you know your child best. Choose activities or topics that interest your child. Don’t forget that reading should be fun for you and your child. It is a life skill that your child will need in day-to-day activities. Take some time out of your busy day to spend some time reading together. Remember, regardless of your child’s ability, progress takes time to achieve. Do not give up and continue to read, read, read.