9 Reading Strategies for Kids to Improve Their Reading Level
From knights battling dragons to flying wizards, reading can transport us into faraway lands. Once upon a time, each one of us had to learn how to read effectively to experience the full impact of those stories.
Reading doesn’t come easily for many children. Regardless of their skill level, it takes consistent work to become an independent reader. Fortunately, reading is a learnable skill. Not to mention, it’s a valuable one that will follow your children through life–beyond just getting an A in English.
No matter what your child’s reading level is, they may need help with comprehension and retention. That’s why we’ve put together 9 reading strategies for kids that will improve their reading skills longer-term.
9 Reading Strategies to Take Your Child’s Reading to the Next Level
As your child advances in grade level, the books and other texts they’ll read will also become more challenging. Equipping them with reading strategy tools can help them leap over their reading barriers. Let’s dive into 9 reading strategies that will keep your child’s reading skills on track!
Has your child ever insisted on reading a particular book for the 1237th time? While you may have gritted your teeth and reread it anyway, the fact is, you were naturally modelling a vital reading skill.
When you encourage your child to reread pieces of text they’re already familiar with [or even love] it can improve their comprehension and their confidence. Here’s why–since they’ve read the text before, they’re already familiar with the vocabulary, storyline, and more. What they may have missed the first time, they will be more likely to catch while rereading. The result? A deeper connection with the text.
2. Reading Aloud
Reading isn’t just a visual activity. Regardless if your child is an aural learner, reading aloud can help struggling readers deepen their understanding and connection to a text–which comes with a host of short-term and long-term benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits your child might experience by reading aloud:
- Boosts working memory
- Builds a stronger vocabulary
- Betters their active listening skills
- Strengthens their comprehension
- Assists in long-term recall
- Improves pronunciation and language fluency
3. Role Playing
You may be thinking–What could role-playing have to do with improving my child’s reading skills? The simple answer? Everything. And, you’ve likely employed a few dramatic techniques without even realising it.
Have you ever read your child a story and changed your voice to suit the character? Maybe deepened it or added a dash of baritone screech for a villain? Or did you take your voice up a few octaves when you read the part of a baby or a fairy godmother?
Children have different learning styles. This is why role-playing can appeal to most of them in one way or another. When they assume a character’s role, they can step into the shoes of that character. Roleplaying allows your child to literally embody the story, understand it from the character’s perspective, and ultimately hone their empathy skills.
4. Finding Keywords in the Text
Before we tackle how keyword identification can improve your child’s reading ability, we should first address the meaning of a keyword.
We bet if you were reading with your child and asked them what a keyword is, they’ll likely shrug their shoulders and start scratching their head. A keyword is a pivotal word in a sentence that allows your young reader to make inferences, discover meaning, and improve their understanding of the text.
Pointing out keywords after scanning the text can help your child comprehend the text both at the sentence level and in a holistic way.
5. Using a Reading Finger
When learning to read, some children will skip over words or even entire sentences. When this happens, they can miss important information they need to understand the text.
Encouraging your child to use a reading finger can slow their pace and improve their ability to focus. And that’s a major plus when they’re learning how to read. That’s because it forces them to use their finger and read one word at a time, without skipping ahead.
Your child doesn’t have to be a kinaesthetic learner to benefit from this hands-on approach. This approach can help them learn to take their time, focus, and read a text word by word from beginning to end–a pillar when it comes to developing effective reading habits.
6. Taking a “Running Start”
If you’ve ever sat with your child as they read aloud, you’ve likely witnessed them encounter a word they’ve never seen before. If this happens, encourage your child to backtrack to the beginning of the sentence and reread it–only this time they should omit the challenging word.
Context clues will help them deduce the meaning of the word on their own. Take a look at this example:
- Original sentence: The grasshopper hopped from the floor to the table.
- Take a running start: The grasshopper *** from the floor to the table.
When your child returns to the beginning of the sentence, they’ll be able to make a strong guess about how the grasshopper was able to reach the table from the floor–just based on their understanding of how a grasshopper moves.
Once they make this connection, you could even ask them about other animals that hop around as well–building their associations with the challenging word.
7. Discussing the Text
Reading can broaden your child’s understanding of their own world, long after they read the words The End. Discussing a text once they’ve finished reading it can reap countless benefits. Here are just a few:
- Allows them to make associations between the text and what they already know about the topic.
- Improves their comprehension and retention because they are explaining or thinking about the text in their own words. This can deepen their connection to the material.
- Fosters your child’s interest in reading.
- Gives your child space to ask questions for clarity, etc.
Nowadays, children are exposed to visual media in all of its forms. From movies, animation, graphics, and more, they’re living in a movie mindset. This is why encouraging your child to visualise what their reading can meet them where they are.
Encouraging them to visualise and rely on their mind’s eye when they’re reading will deepen their understanding of a text. And possibly fortify their connection to the story.
9. Focus on the Root Word
Before we dive into the importance of learning root words, let’s take a step back and define what a root word is, in its basic form.
A root word is a foundational word–without a prefix or a suffix–where a student can deduce its meaning. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Dict= say
- Multi= many
- Meter= measure
- Aud= to hear
While some children find root word theory helpful, not all do. Whether you find yourself leaning on innovative practices to improve your child’s vocabulary or even utilising learning methods for children with dyslexia, the fact remains–practising root-word theory consistently can help your young reader decipher new vocabulary and build their vocab bank in the long run.
Ready to Use Reading Strategies for Kids That Really Work?
Every child has a unique learning style that works for them and it’s important to understand that any of the nine strategies above may work for your child.
If your child is struggling with reading, a private tutor can help them get on track. They’ll offer the customised support your child needs to build the foundational blocks necessary for a long-term love of reading.
If you’re looking to learn how to help your child improve their reading level, A Team Tuition is here to help. With our tried and true tutoring methods, we can help your child excel in reading with our at-home and online tutoring. Find a tutor near you today!