Primary Reading Help: How to Help Kids Improve Their Reading Skills

If you have a child in primary school, then his or her reading skills are likely to be in a phase of intense development. Keep reading for a few tips on how you can improve your child's reading skills before and throughout primary school.

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Helping Your Primary School Child Read

Starting Early

Some parents find it productive to teach their child primary reading skills before he or she begins school because it may help your child experience a gentle transition into a structured learning environment. It will also help your child become an experienced reader before the pressures of school life set in.

Learning Vocabulary

Your child's age is, of course, a major factor in how you'll teach him or her vocabulary. Phonemic awareness is one of the first steps towards breaking down words. Does your child know the basic sounds of consonants and vowels? Pick up a pack of phonics flashcards or make your own with pictures to get your child comfortable with what's likely coming at school.

Sight word recognition becomes important when your child gets a bit older. Is your child able to recognize a handful of shorter words and relate them to corresponding images or meanings? Just for fun, label objects all over your home with vocabulary words. Your child will see the words on a daily basis and your living area is suddenly a vocabulary-learning area.

When your child's a little older still, building vocabulary becomes integral to reading comprehension. You can help your child by quizzing him or her, but often at this stage, it's important for a child to learn vocabulary by understanding new words in context. Go over passages of text with your child and highlight the words that he or she doesn't already know. Help your child figure out their meanings by analyzing the words that surround them.

Why Reading for Enjoyment Matters

The more your child reads for personal enjoyment, the more he or she is flexing that particular learning muscle. If you have a young child, does he or she look forward to story time? If your child is older, does he or she read for fun? If not, there are ways to help your child begin to read for pleasure.

There are a number of book lists for whatever your child's age and reading level might be. Some are online, while others may be available from your local library. Sit down with your child and allow him or her to choose a few books. Check out or purchase these books and make time for reading in your household each and every day.

Reading Strategies for Mastering Comprehension

Do you and your child have comprehension discussions after reading a story? For a young child, during a bedtime story routine, you can model reading strategies. With an older child, you can actually discuss reading strategies, like predicting, inferring, drawing conclusions and more. The object is to raise a child who's able to read, process and think critically about what's presented in any given text.

For comprehension exercises that you and your child can do around the house, help your child relate what's happening in a book to his or her real life. There are also many websites that will provide games and activities that are fun for you and your child to experience together for free.

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