Developing Reading Rate: Tips for Home


If you are concerned about your child’s reading rate (See “Have a Slow Reader?”), here are some things to try at home.

First, developing a sense of comfort with reading is paramount to successful reading, so if reading is accompanied by anxiety, take a step back and relax for a bit.  The following tips should help create opportunities for reading practice and subsequent growth.

  1.  Know your child’s reading level:  Ask your child’s teacher.  Most schools now have a lending library of leveled books that you can access.  A good rule of thumb is to ask for a couple of books one level below that they can read on their own for success.  Add to that an “on-level” book that they may need some help with to be successful.  These can be kept for several days so they can reread familiar books.
  2. Go to the library and allow your child to check out books that they are interested in.  Use these books as read alouds but ask your child to read the “easier” parts of the book to you.  This may be the last paragraph on the page, a caption under a picture, or a page that doesn’t have much text.  (and the text should be mostly familiar words.) 
  3. Continue to read aloud to your child as long as they will let you!  This is an excellent way to expose them to vocabulary words that are too difficult for them to read but they still need to know the meanings of.  Not to mention, what a great bonding activity!
  4. Employ various reading strategies to support your child if a book is too hard for them.
    1. Whisper read:  You are “whispering,” just slightly behind them, the words on the page. They are looking at the words and getting an auditory clue from you as needed.
    1. Repeat read:  You read a sentence, they reread the same sentence.  For younger kids, you can vary the voice you use, they will enjoy that (football player voice, mouse voice, ghost voice, etc.) 
  5. Let them read a variety of print
    1. Cereal boxes while eating breakfast
    1. Comic books
    1. Headlines in magazines
    1. Billboards
    1. Signs in grocery stores
  6. If they have friends/relatives, arrange for them to read to a younger child OR facetime read with a relative. 

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