The ability for a child to read fluently is the cornerstone for learning. And, as they grow, reading offers them a world to enjoy and escape to. By helping them to become confident readers, you are giving them a long lasting gift. Here’s how to help your child’s reading fluency with these 10 top tips:
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Our education system offers children support in learning how to decode, but once they master the basics there are often few supports to help them with reading fluency.
A lack of fluency can lead to frustration and may discourage children from reading altogether.
Help your child become a fluent and confident reader with these 10 Top Tips.
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How to Help Your Child’s Reading Fluency With These Top Tips
#1. Know the signs
Look out for signs that your child is having problems with reading fluency. Common signs include
- flat reading or reading without expression
- stumbling over every word while reading aloud
- ignoring punctuation
- moving the mouth while reading silently
- struggling to read at a consistent rate
#2. Read together
The most effective and simple way to help your child improve their reading fluency is to sit down with them and read. Pick a book and take turns reading aloud. Your reading will guide them to understand what fluent reading sounds like.
#3. ‘Mimic’ (echo) reading
This is a fun exercise where you ask your child to mimic the passage you have just read. They must try and match your intonation and reading speed.
This will provide them with a vocal model of fluent reading that they can then emulate.
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#4. Follow the finger
As you read a passage encourage your child to use their finger to follow the words as you read them aloud.
This encourages a connection between what is written on the page and spoken words. It also helps them recognise worlds more quickly, especially those that are used most often.
In turn this builds confidence as they can open any book and know that they will be able to read some of the words on the page just by sight alone.
#5. Learn to Recite
Boost your child’s confidence further by getting them to learn some short, fun poems, song lyrics, stories or nursery rhymes and then recite them for friends and family or just to make you laugh!
Again this will improve their fluency and help them to become more familiar with everyday words.
#6. Take a break
If you see that your child is struggling or stumbling over the words more than usual, take a break. Forcing them to read on will cause frustration.
When you come back to the reading, take it slowly and build their confidence by returning to a page they know well and asking them to read that. And remember to praise them for trying so hard.
#7. Use audio books
Audio books are a fun way to learn while not realising you are learning! Have them in the car for journeys and if you have the book too, ask your child to follow the text in the book while listening.
As their confidence grows, you could play a game by asking them to tell you what the next word or line is before the reader says it.
Audio books give your child the opportunity to listen to what an expressive, fluent reader sounds like, and are really great for reluctant readers.
#8. Reread favourite books
Practice makes perfect. Getting your child to reread favourite books over and over helps them to become a truly fluent reader.
They gain confidence and expression with each reading and learn to have fun with reading.
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#9. Get theatrical!
Putting on a play or show for family is a wonderful way to build early reading skills. Get involved by helping your child to write a short script and rehearse their lines or get siblings to work together.
Remember to be silly and expressive to help model fluency.
#10. Hit record
Use a voice recorder or recording app to create your very own audio book collection.
Record your child reading a favourite book or story they have written. Or take turns reading different passages.
Hearing themselves back is a great motivator to perfect their reading techniques including, expression, volume, accuracy and pace and can be a lot of fun too.
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