Many teachers advise parents to work on their child’s reading fluency but what does this mean?
For a student to read fluently they must be able to read the words in the text accurately. They must read through the sentences smoothly and use expression in their reading. This means that they change tone depending on the context of the sentences. Students who read fluently can recognize words automatically and are able to decode unknown words using phonics rules that have become second nature to them.
Reading fluently is important because it helps students comprehend the text. Although it is not the only solution to better comprehension it is essential. If a child stops continuously while reading and struggles to figure out words it interferes with their understanding of the text. It builds frustration and their only concern is to figure out words and they are not able to read text as a whole. Students become more concerned with the words and forget that they have meaning and work together to create a story or provide information.
So how can you help your child build better fluency?
First and foremost please understand that this takes time and consistency. You may not see a change in your child from one day to another but if you are consistent in your practices with them you will eventually see growth. Here are some ways you can help your child build better fluency:
1. Read to your child.
Reading to your child is extremely important and can be done at any age. (The earlier you start the better) When you read to your child, have them follow along with you. Read using expression and emotion as you read. It is important for them to hear that sentences don’t sound monotonous.
2. Help your child pick “just right books”
In order to get better at reading one must read. When your child reads it should be for entertainment and should not be a frustrating experience. Take them to the library or book store and have them pick books that interest them. Make sure that they are books that are at their reading level. Your child’s reading level may not be his/her grade level, this is ok. The goal is to get them there. To know if it is the right book for them, have them read the first 2 pages. If they struggle with more than 3 words that book is too difficult and will cause them to be frustrated.
3. Help your child build strong phonemic awareness
Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, recognize, and manipulate the individual units of sound that words are made up. This means being experts at recognizing all the sounds of the alphabet automatically, detecting and creating rhyme, understanding syllables and being able to blend and segment them, and blending and isolating beginning and ending sounds. Although these take time to master, a few minutes daily of playing and manipulating words and sounds can help your child pick up on word and sound patterns that will help them.