Things to Strengthen First Grade Reading Skills: Techniques and Strategies

Although reading is often taught in preschool and kindergarten, some first graders still struggle with it. In order for reading to click, children need a lot of practice both at home and in school. The following techniques can be done at home to strengthen first grade reading skills.

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Helping Your First Grader Read

What's Expected of First Graders

Expectations differ depending on where you live and what kind of school your child attends. However, many first graders will not only need to recognize letters and letter combinations, but also know basic vocabulary and word parts. Reading comprehension and fluency are both emphasized as well. In addition, kids are expected to differentiate between various literary genres, from fantasy and adventure to historical fiction and biographies.

Reading to Your Child

Read frequently to your child and give him or her many opportunities for independent reading. Go to the library or bookstore and select easy reader books, which are appropriate for first grade readers because they use a limited vocabulary. You can strengthen your child's reading comprehension skills by reading more advanced texts to him or her aloud.

To increase comprehension, go over a book with your child before reading it. Discuss the structure of the book and the pictures. Also, ask your child questions, such as what do the pictures mean? Does the book seem like it will be silly? Scary? Exciting?

While reading, be sure to stop at appropriate times and discuss the text. Ask your first grader to predict what might happen next. After reading the book, discuss what happened and encourage your child to think critically about the story and the characters' decisions.

Increasing Reading Fluency

Fluency is the gauge of how smoothly your first grader can read texts without making mistakes. Repetition can be very helpful for increasing fluency. Have your child rehearse the same passage over and over. Record him or her reading the passage at several stages in this process. Play it back to hear the progress.

Teach your child sight words. Sight words are words that are instantly recognized without thought, like 'the' and 'you'. Although phonics can help your child sound out unfamiliar words, memorizing common words can speed up reading considerably. It can also help your child read more texts.

When you and your child are out and about, help her or him practice vocabulary. Signs can be fun and useful because your child will likely learn about signs at school. Help your child to read signs on the road, in stores and everywhere else they may appear.

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