First Grade Reading Test: How to Prepare Your Child

In the first grade, your child may be required to complete in-class and standardized reading assessments. For information about these exams and a few tips on helping your first grader prepare, continue reading.

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Getting Ready for First Grade Reading Tests

Purpose and Overview of Reading Tests

You may be eager to find out if your first grader is reading at grade level. Begin by talking with the teacher about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Since the teacher works with your child every day, he or she can pinpoint the current reading skills that your child needs to work on at school and at home.

The type of exam your child will take sometimes depends on where you live and where your child goes to school. For instance, some exams may be state-mandated. However, first grade reading tests tend to cover basic phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension.

Fluency, Phonics and Vocabulary

Reading fluency is how smoothly your child can read. To help your child get ready for fluency tests, make a series of flash cards with sight words on them. Sight words are terms like 'as', 'is' and 'the' that your child can learn to instantly recognize without sounding out. Having your child read the same texts aloud repeatedly can also be helpful.

Flash cards can also be a big help for teaching phonics and vocabulary. Write basic word parts on flash cards. Have your child sound out the word parts from the cards and then combine them to form complete words. The same process can be used to review vocabulary words. You could even turn it into a game by giving points for each correct definition your child gives.

Reading Comprehension

The more you read to and with your child, the more you'll help improve his or her comprehension skills. Before reading a book with your child, go over the front and back cover, table of contents and pictures. Select a few a few key words from the text and discuss them with your child in preparation.

While reading, stop frequently and discuss what's happened in the book. Ask your child to make predictions about what might occur next. Analyze the characters and events of the book when you're finished reading and then read it again. Move your child's finger across phrases and have him or her read along with you for more fluency practice.

Home Assessments

Consult with your child's teachers to find out if there are any practice exams that your child can take at home. Your state's Department of Education could be a good source, as well.

Some free online reading assessments are designed to gauge several components of your child's reading abilities. You can pick and choose what parts of the test to give your child based on his or her learning needs. For example, if your child is struggling exclusively with soft and hard vowel sounds, you can administer only this section of a test.

Home testing helps your child get ready for exams in the real world. Create a quiet testing area for your child and time her or him during the test. Go over the results together and help your child strengthen the areas where the most reading help is needed.

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