Teaching 5th-Grade Reading: Strategies and Techniques

Are you teaching reading to 5th grade students and looking for a few tips on how your lessons can be more effective in the classroom? If so, read on for a few strategies and techniques you might find useful.

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How to Help Your 5th Grade Students Improve Reading Skills

Improving the Reading Skills of a 5th Grade Class

By the 5th grade, most students have basic reading comprehension and fluency skills. Although many students can read texts successfully, all students need to continue learning comprehension skills in order to read more advanced texts. When you're teaching 5th grade reading, introduce reading strategies that help your students tackle complex fiction and non-fiction texts.

Although core reading standards vary from school to school and state to state, they usually remain somewhat similar. By the end of the school year, your students need to be able to differentiate between literary genres and analyze poetry, plays, books and short stories without your support. In addition, help your class compare one text to another.

Helping Your Students Focus

In the 5th grade - and especially in later grades - students need to read texts for information in a wide variety of subjects. If a block of text is too long, some students may lose focus and therefore have poor comprehension. To prevent this, have your students to stop reading after a few paragraphs and write a brief summary of what they read. This summary will often be useful later because students can study it before the test.

Working on Vocabulary and Comprehension

Unfamiliar vocabulary sometimes derails a student's ability to understand what's going on. Of course, it's nearly impossible to learn every single word in the English language, but your students can learn strategies for dealing with new words. Show them how to use context clues to decode an unfamiliar word and create a class list of new vocabulary words.

Discuss texts with your class as a whole. Find out your student's interests and varying personalities. You can use this information to make the material relatable to their lives. In discussions, maintain a respectful atmosphere for the opinions of everyone in the room. The more involved each student is, the more interested they'll be, which can highlight the importance for studying the material.

The key is to get your students to think critically about what they're reading. Start class debates about character motivation and predictions about what might happen next in a text. Have your students discuss texts amongst themselves in small groups.

Preparing Your Students for Testing

Depending on where you teach and what kind of school you work for, you may be required to prepare your students for 5th grade English/language arts standardized tests. The reading portions of these exams tend to have multiple-choice questions following passages of text. What you cover in your class throughout the school year should prepare your students for a standardized test. Additionally, in the weeks and days leading up to the exam, you can give your class practice tests, which can determine what you need to review before the test day.

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