Reading Help

Ways to Help Your Child Be a Better Reader

The five main areas of reading development are:  Phonological Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary and Comprehension.

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS:  is considered the building block for reading development.  It is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of spoken language.  There are several skills children need to master using Oral Language as a step to early reading.  These include:

  1. Rhyming:  Children need to practice identifying words that rhyme and produce rhyming words.  Using nursery rhymes are a great way to practice this.
  2. Sentence Segmentation:  Children need to be able to segment sentences into words.  They can use their hands to “chop” the sentence into words or use manipulatives such as counters to practice segmenting sentences.
  3. Syllable Recognition:  Children practice both blending syllables together and dividing words into syllables.  Using hand motions helps make blending and segmenting more concrete for early learners.
  4. Onset and Rime Identification:  Students need to be able to identify the initial consonant sound (onset) and the vowel and any consonants that follow (rime).  For example /C/ (onset) /at/ (rime).

PHONICS:  The goal of phonics instruction is to help children use the sound/symbol relationship to read and write words.  Phonics is different from phonemic awareness because it now involves using letters to represent the sounds.  Phonics skills overlap with phonemic awareness in the area of onset and rime and also include letter identification.  There are three main areas of phonics instruction.  These include:

  1. Letter-Sound Correspondence- Students practice matching and identifying sounds to letters (initial, final, and medial).
  2. Word Study- Children practice blending, sorting, and segmenting the sounds of letters into words and learn to identify high frequency words.
  3. Syllable Patterns- Students practice blending and segmenting syllables in words.

FLUENCY:  Reading fluently is the ability to read text quickly, accurately and with proper expression.  Fluency is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension.  The goal of fluent reading is to recognize words automatically.  Some ways to help with fluency are: 

  1. High Frequency Word Recognition- Building a large “sight word” vocabulary is a proven way to increase reading fluency.
  2. Oral Reading- Use timed reading practices to read with accuracy, speed and expression.
  3. Repeated Readings- Students read the same passage or book several times to read more fluently.
  4. Shadow Reading and Choral Reading- Students read along with another more fluent reader/s/ for modeling.
  5. Read Aloud- Students listen to fluent reading by teachers, parents and other students.  Hearing fluent readers serves as a model to help non fluent readers improve.

VOCABULARY:  Vocabulary instruction helps provide students with an understanding of the meaning and use of words so they can comprehend what they are reading and communicate effectively. 

COMPREHENSION: Comprehension is defined as the ability to understand and get meaning form spoken and written language.  It is the ultimate goal when learning to read.  The goal of Comprehension instruction is to teach children specific strategies to use for understanding text as they read. Some of these activities include:

  1. Sentence Structure and Meaning:  Students practice identifying important text elements and arrange word to make sentences.
  2. Story Structure: Students sequencing events, retelling story details and identifying story elements (setting, characters, problem, solution).
  3. Monitoring for Meaning- Students practice organizing information to gain meaning.
  4. Main Idea/ Summarizing- Students practice stating the main ideas in their own words.  They also work on summarizing sections of text.

To learn more about these areas and access resources to help with reading skills check out the link below: 

readingrockets.org