Strong reading skills don't always come naturally to children. However, there are a number of different tips and strategies that both parents and children can use to build comfort, confidence, and enjoyment in reading—leading to a lifetime of reading success. Reading every day with your child, visiting libraries, finding a distraction-free environment to read, and finding books that match your child's interests are all good starting points that can help your child learn strong reading skills with ease.
Good readers also use different strategies to self-monitor their reading, and below are proven suggestions that you can use to help nurture these instincts. Be sure to give your child a few seconds to self-correct if they make a mistake; this helps them develop the agency and awareness to read with confidence.
- "Does it look right?"
Encourage your child to employ this visual strategy which focuses on the the way a word looks. What should the letter or groups of letters say at the beginning, middle, and end of the word? Often, children look quickly at the beginning of the word and take a guess. They need to be encouraged to look all the way through the word. Ask, "Does it look right?" prompting them to look through the word instead of just at the beginning.
- "Does that make sense?"
This meaning strategy reflects on the meaning of a story. This strategy asks students to think about what makes sense. If you are reading along and notice your child replacing a word with another that has no relevance to the story, your young reader isn't thinking about what makes sense while he or she is reading. Ask, "Does that make sense?" prompting them to listen to the story they are reading.
- "Does it sound right?"
The sounds right strategy is the strategy that thinks about the structure of reading and talking. If your child reads a word or part of a sentence that doesn't 'sound right', then they probably aren't paying attention to how their reading sounds. Ask, "Does it sound right?" prompting them to hear the way it sounds.
We use the same strategies during reading instruction in classrooms at Peck, as part of our Guided Reading methodology. Faculty and reading specialists use this approach to ensure that each child comfortably builds an affinity for reading at his or her own pace, within a small group of peers who share similar learning stages and styles. Groups remain fluid, as developmental needs ebb and flow so that children may be appropriately challenged and supported at every stage.