Reading is a crucial component in one’s academics that should not be skimmed over. With an early grasp on reading fluency, it secures a valuable skill to excel while building self-confidence.
Reading fluency is best cultivated when young, making a parental role in encouraging good reading important for your child to succeed. If you are looking to help your child in improving their reading fluency, look no further as here are some tips and tricks to do just that!
What is reading fluency?
It is the ability to read out loud with accurate pronunciation and speed and meaningful expressions.
It is crucial to grasp good reading fluency to ensure that your listeners are engaged and immersed in the stories you tell. It is also especially helpful when it comes to the Oral section of language examinations!
Recognition of text
First, work on having your child know all the words in the text. That includes having him build on his vocabulary and familiarity with an array of different types of words to ensure that he does not stumble over words and have to pause to figure out the pronunciation. You can build on decoding skills by having your child:
- Read the words in isolation (can be done on flashcards),
- Then read the words in phrases,
- Then read the words in sentences,
- Further encounter the words on fun and motivating activity sheets,
- And finally, encounter the words in short stories.
Understand the meaning of the words
Secondly, guide your child to understand the meaning of the words he is reading. To read fluently and with appropriate expressions is to understand what the passage is trying to say and convey it through reading tone and emotions. To learn and understand new words and phrases, you can try highlighting them through illustrations, and work on what your child already knows, using that as a ‘hook’ for learning the new vocabulary.
With this method, your child can be mentally prepared when he reads the word again in a text, allowing him to read the word smoothly because he has the knowledge on how it should be pronounced. He can then continue visualising the storyline in his mind because he is not wrestling with the meaning.
Be a good role model
Another important factor that helps your child with reading fluency is having a good role model that he can follow. Hearing is a key component of learning and having someone that your child can listen from makes it easier for him to mimic and eventually develop his own reading voice.
When a passage is read out loud, you are setting an example for your child as he mentally digests your tone and emotions when you read. Hence, it would be beneficial to start reading to your child since young for him to grow up with an early exposure into reading fluency. When older, a good way to hone this skill is to listen to audio books.
Learn appropriate phrasing of sentences
Learning phrasing is a crucial factor that helps build reading fluency. By dividing a sentence and grouping the words into phrases to be read together, your child will learn how and when to pause when reading a sentence, especially a long one.
Consider this sentence:
Even with pacing, done wrong will make it sound monotonous and boring.
Hence, appropriate pacing will look something like this:
To allow your child to develop this, you can start by dividing the sentence for them. Phrasing is usually marked with prepositional phrases. However, it is best to use one’s intuition as you mark the page. Think of how the text would be read; there are no correct answers when it comes to reading, especially when it comes to more advanced text.
When reading, be as expressive as you can! Developing this sense of reading from young eradicates the desire to feel self-aware when being expressive during reading, which is one of the most common pitfalls when it comes to reading out loud for children. Children are often self-aware of their voices and feel self-conscious, leading to a muted and less expressive reading tone. Hence, it is important to drill into your child a love for reading and expressing themselves, which can also help in building confidence in themselves and their voices.
One way to cultivate good expression when reading is to practise it through buddy reading. There are different forms of buddy reading, but for encouraging expression, it would be the most helpful if you read a page and then have your child read the same page after you have read it. This allows the demonstration of how to pay attention to punctuation and how to emphasize important words.