5th Grade Reading Level: How to Help Your Fifth Grader Read Better

In 5th grade, students read a wide range of texts, including poetry, literature and textbooks. Whether your child is struggling to read aloud, comprehend what she reads or absorb information from a text, the following activities can help.

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Helping Your 5th Grader Read Better


Words are decoded by breaking them apart into smaller, more understandable pieces. By 5th grade, students use prefixes, suffixes and base words. Help your child at home by giving him a list of words that have prefixes and suffixes. Have him circle prefixes at the beginning of words, underline the base word and circle the suffixes at the end of the word. This activity may help your child visualize that a long word is made of smaller parts.

For long, multisyllabic words that don't have prefixes or suffixes, help him break them apart using syllables. Working through a word syllable by syllable can make long words less intimidating. For instance, the word 'combination' can be broken into the following syllables: com bi na tion. These smaller word parts can be easily sounded out.


Reading fluently means reading quickly with expression and accuracy. It's an important part of reading because it helps students increase comprehension. If they can read without struggle, then their focus can be completely on the content. Practice at home by modeling fluent reading with a passage. Then, have your child read the same passage aloud. Depending on her ability level, your child may have to repeat the passage several times.


In literature, one of the most challenging tasks in 5th grade is identifying the theme of a story. Because the concept is abstract and goes beyond simple comprehension, students are often challenged and intimidated by it. Begin by reading a story together. Ask your child, 'What was the moral of that story?' or 'What message is the author trying to portray?' These questions are asking your child to identify the theme, but in a different, more accessible way. If your child is still unsure, model your own thinking, and then practice with another story.


Reading textbooks effectively becomes increasingly important in 5th grade because students are about to enter into middle school. Help your child identify the main ideas and supporting details of a text at home by using articles from kids' magazines.

Each paragraph in the article has a main idea and supporting details. Tell your child to think of the main idea as the most important part of the paragraph. It's what the author's trying to prove to you, and the supporting details are the evidence. Have your child underline the main idea with a blue pen and the supporting details with a red pen.

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