I always tell my students and their parents that reading fluency isn’t always about how fast you read. Reading fluency is about understanding the meaning, tone, context and the author’s purpose. Even if you understand vocabulary, syntax, decoding and phonics, you may not be a fluent reader.
In order to become a fluent reader, SciLear.org recommends your child to have assisted practice, where he or she read passages out loud and an instructor provides feedback. Your child should also have a good model, and listen to passages being read with proper accuracy, speed and expression. Your child also should repeat their oral practice, and read authentic texts that are relevant to their lives and interest.
So, what can you do as a parent to help your child become a fluent reader?
1. Have your child record him or herself reading out loud. It’s a good way to monitor their progress and listen to recordings together later. Provide feedback on areas where they are succeeding, and gentle correction on words that need work.
2. Use “Reading Assistant,” which is a software program that ‘listens’ to students and supports them with decoding and comprehension. Tasks in Reading Assistant require activities that include listening to modeled reading, reading aloud while receiving feedback, listening to your own reading and then answering ‘think about it’ comprehension questions that exercises auditory memory and executive function skills.
3. Don’t nitpick at the unimportant words! Instead, focus on words that are important for comprehension.
4. Work with struggling readers when you have the most energy. If you’re not going to be at the top of your game after a long day, or if you’re going to be distracted in the evening, reserve your time with your child for the weekends. Plan for success for both yourself and your child.
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