Reading Strategies

Word Attack Strategies

Word-attack strategies help children decode unfamiliar words.  Here are a few powerful strategies:

1) Use Picture Clues

* Look at the picture and ask, “Is there something in the picture that would make sense in the sentence?”

2) Sound Out the Word

* Blend letter sounds together.

3) Look for Chunks in the Word

* Look for familiar letter chunks or word families that might help when sounding out the word.

4) Look for prefixes, suffixes, and base words

*Prompt the child to take off words parts like “ed” to decode longer words.

5) Remember to prompt children to always ask themselves, “Did that make sense?” after decoding an unknown word.

Making Connections to the Text to Life Experiences, to Other Texts, or to Prior Knowledge

Connecting a text to children’s own experiences helps personalize the information and make it more memorable. As you read together, ask your child:

•    “What do you already know about this topic?

•    “Do the characters remind you of someone you know?”

•    “Is this book similar to any other books you’ve read?”

•    “Is this book similar to anything you have seen on television or at the movies?”

Building Fluency

Just because you’ve read a book with your child once, doesn’t mean it’s time to put it back on the shelf or return it to the library. Rereading familiar texts can greatly improve your child’s fluency. Try to find books that have stories that excite and spark your child’s interest. Even if the text is a little bit too difficult for your child to read independently, his/her high interest paired with a little help from you will make for high motivation for your child to push through the text. Eventually, the words will become familiar, and your child will not only be able to read the book on his/her own, but will be able to recognize many of the words in new contexts. Check with your child’s teacher for books best suited to your child’s individual reading level.

Audio books are another great way to build fluency. Children love to listen to the stories. Just by listening, they learn a lot about the importance of reading with expression. The local libraries surrounding Avoca West offer a huge assortment of audio books.

Poetry reads are another key to success when it comes to reading fluency. The rhythm and rhyme often associated with poetry will help your child recognize and read the words. Traditional nursery rhymes are a great place to start if you are struggling to find an age appropriate book of poems for your child. Of course, the library is a fantastic resource for finding even more poetry treasures.

Visualizing while Reading

Many people think visually. Encourage your child to imagine the story as if it were a movie. Tell your child to paint a picture in his/her head about what the characters might look like and imagine the setting. Visualizing builds story comprehension and allows children to make deeper, more meaningful connections to the text.

Making Predictions

Making predictions encourages active reading and keeps children interested. It doesn’t matter whether or not the predictions are correct.

Before reading the story, have your child look at the cover, pictures, and table of contents. Ask, “What do you think this story will be about? Who do you think the main characters might be? What might happen in this story?”

Write down your child’s predictions, then during reading, look for words or phrases from those predictions. Encourage your child to revise the predictions and make new ones as you read.

Five Things Good Readers Do While Reading

1) Think about the story

Thinking about the story helps build comprehension and decode unknown words. When you come to an unknown word, thinking about what might make sense helps narrow down the possibilities. In order to build literal comprehension, you should be asking yourself questions while reading and seeing if they are answered. Also, make predictions and connections while reading to improve comprehension. Making connections means finding ways to relate the story to your own life. Think, “does this story remind me of something that has happened to me or of something in another story I’ve read?”

2) Check the picture when stuck on an unknown word or if something in the story does not make sense.

3) Go back and get your mouth ready when stuck on an unknown word.

Look at the beginning letter or letters of the unknown word and get your mouth ready to make the sound. Sometimes this helps with sounding out the word with more ease.

4) Look for chunks in unknown words.

Finding little words inside of a big word may help decode the word. Also, try to isolate the root word from common prefixes and suffixes to make the word more manageable for sounding out.

5) As you read, ask yourself, “Does that make sense? Does it sound right?”

Commonly mispronounced words when reading include: says, does, and words that end in –ed. Also, continue to make sure that the story line makes sense.

Building Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness is a crucial skill for promoting reading readiness. It’s also an easy and enjoyable  skill to practice with your child. Have fun with your child playing rhyming games and reading rhyming books. Dr. Seuss books are full of ear catching rhymes. Make a game out of listening for the beginning, ending, and vowel sounds in words. You can sort different objects from around your house by the beginning, middle, and ending sounds.

Learning sight words is another reading skill you can help your child with to give him/her a leg up in the classroom. Sight words are words that your child should be able to recognize instantly without sounding out.

Read Like A Detective

Prompt students to deeply analyze texts by asking questions that force them to go back to the text. You can do this by:

  1. Having your child go back and reread a text, but this time have him/her change a few key words. Then discuss how the change impacted the meaning/message of the text.
  2. Asking your child’s opinion about a specific character, event, or detail in the story. Then have your child go back to the text and find evidence that supports his/her opinion.
  3. Discussing the author’s purpose by asking questions like, “Why do you think the author chose to end the story like this?” Again, have your child support his/her answer with evidence from the text.

Write About What You’ve Read

Deepen your child’s relationship with the text by having him/her write about it. Have him/her write an alternative ending to the story, describe in written word how the text made him/her feel, summarize the text, write a new story using the same characters, describe his/her favorite part, or create a character analysis.