For many students, learning to read fluently is a challenge. When asked to read aloud students need to read at a good pace, read with expression, attend to the punctuation, and put appropriate phrases together so it sounds like he/she is talking. That’s a lot to remember! Below are a few tricks you can use at home to help your child practice reading fluently:
Echo Reading: Have your child choose a short passage from a book or magazine that is on his or her level. Have your child point to the beginning of the passage, and read aloud as your child tracks the print. Reread the passage again, this time having your child track the print independently and read the passage aloud along with you so they can match your intonation and expression. Your child should be “echoing” your expression, phrasing, and intonation, so make it sound exciting!
Partner Reading: Partner up with your child. As your child reads the text aloud, follow along. Make comments about the good things he or she did along the way (ex. I like the way you read with good expression, I am so glad you made your voice go up when you saw that question mark). Switch! Now it is your turn to read for a while. Ask your child to give you some feedback too!
Digital Reading: Give your child opportunities to try books on tape, or allow them to read digital books off of websites (many digital books can be accessed through the West Hartford Public Library website). Listening to the books digitally allows students to hear examples of good reading. Students can also read along quietly as the book is being read to them, imitating the expression and phrasing of the recording. Once your child has read the text along with the CD/computer, he or she can even reread it aloud to you.
Repeated Reading: Chose a short passage from a book or magazine that is on his or her grade level. Ask your child to read the passage once at a slow pace focusing on sounding out unknown words. Once your child is done reading, provide your child with some feedback. Now it is your turn to read the passage aloud to your child modeling appropriate phrasing, expression, and speed. Then, ask your child to reread the same passage two or three more times so that each time your child is reading the passage more quickly and at a speech-like pace.
- Voice Recording: Most phones now come with a digital voice recorder. Use the voice recorder to record your child reading aloud parts of a short text or book. Replay the voice recording and talk about what you both observed. Ask your child to reread the same section of the short text or book with the intention of fixing errors.