10 Things to Do When Your Child Isn’t Reading Fluently

help child read fluently

Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. In order to become a confident reader who reads for meaning and enjoyment, children need to be able to read fluently, both silently and aloud.

Children often receive a lot of support in learning how to decode, but once they master the basics many receive few strategies to help them with fluency. A lack of fluency can make stories disjointed and lead to a great deal of frustration, even discouraging the reader from reading altogether.

Here are ten things you can do to help your child become a fluent and confident reader.

1. Know the signs – Be aware of clues that your child is having problems with fluency. Common signs include reading without expression, stumbling while reading aloud, reading aloud very slowly or at a mixed rate, ignoring punctuation, and moving the mouth while reading silently.

2. Make a habit of ‘buddy’ reading – The easiest and most effective way to help your child improve their fluency is by sitting down together and reading. Pair up as reading buddies every day, and take turns reading aloud. Your reading will provide a model of what fluent reading sounds like.

3. ‘Copycat’ (echo) reading – While reading together, ask your child to play ‘copycat’. Read one passage at a time and have your child read it back to you, matching your voice and intonation. This provides them with a vocal model of fluent reading that they can emulate.

4. Follow the finger – Encourage your child to follow the words on the page with their finger as you read them aloud. This will help them build stronger connections between spoken words and their written form.

5. Learn certain texts by heart – Learning and reciting short and fun texts, such as song lyrics, nursery rhymes and poems are great for building your child’s confidence, and helps them to become familiar with the rhythm of fluent reading.

6. Take breaks – If your child is stumbling a lot, let them rest. Forcing them to continue reading will only increase their frustration. Instead, close the book and acknowledge how hard they are trying. You can also turn back to a page they feel more confident about, and invite them to read it again.

7. Use audio books – Listening to what a fluent and expressive reader sounds like is important for building fluency. Audio books are a great tool for exposing your child to fluent reading, and are particularly helpful for reluctant readers, who can listen to the audio while following the text on the page.

8. Reread best-loved books – Practice makes perfect. It doesn’t matter how often your child wants to read a certain book; rereading the books they love makes valuable practice for becoming a fluent reader. With each reading, your child will become faster, more confident, and more expressive.

9. Throw in the theatrics – Dramatic play is a wonderful way to build essential early reading skills. Help your child write a short script and have fun rehearsing the lines. Invite other family members and friends to join in, and don’t forget to be silly and expressive to model fluency.

10. Hit record – Use a tape recorder or voice recording app to create audio books at home. Your child can read a book they love, or read aloud an original story they’ve come up with. You can even take turns reading aloud certain passages. This is a great motivator for your child to perfect their pace, expression, volume, and accuracy.

ABOUT READING EGGS

Reading Eggs helps children aged 3-13 improve their reading fluency with fun instructional online activities and e-books. The program builds fast and effortless word recognition in a highly motivating way with interactive animations, fun songs and characters, and exciting rewards.

SPECIAL FREE TRIAL OFFER: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading can improve in just weeks.

5 Everyday Activities to Boost Your Child’s Working Memory with Reading

learning memory reading

 

When you sit down to read a book, your brain is recalling and using a great deal of information to understand the text. This is because reading requires us to draw on relevant information stored in our memory in order to gain meaning.

A good working memory is important for reading and achieving success in school. Working memory refers to how we manipulate information stored in our short-term memory. Children use this all the time to learn, read, and follow everyday instructions.

Improving your child’s working memory is a powerful way to improve their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Here are five activities you can do at home to improve your child’s working memory.

1. Play category games

When words and ideas are put into categories, they become much easier to remember. Several studies have found that when category cues are applied, children are twice as likely to remember associated words than if left to recall them on their own.

You can play category games with your child after reading a book as a helpful way to recall new words and ideas. If the book features animals, ask your child to name as many animals as they can think of, including any new ones they may have learned from the book. You can look at grouping them in different ways, such as by where they live or their number of legs. If the book is about Egyptian history, ask them to list words under categories such as diet, buildings, rituals, or fashion. This type of associative learning is a great way to improve reading comprehension and vocabulary.

2. Connect feelings to information

Children remember things most effectively by processing information in as many ways as possible, especially if they have processed it emotionally. If your child is reading a book about bird migration, ask them to imagine what it would be like to fly thousands of miles to find food and warmth. Finding ways to connect what your child is trying to remember with things they are already familiar with is a powerful way to help them learn new information.

3. Talk about what you have read

Soon after you have finished reading a book, ask your child to give you a summary of the events that took place. Encourage them to draw pictures, write their summary, or simply tell you what happened in chronological order. You can also ask your child questions to reinforce key information in the book. Encourage a post-reading discussion by asking questions like, “Where did the dog find his family?”, “Why do you think the girl felt sad about leaving school?”, or “What would have happened if the day was rainy instead of sunny?”

4. Encourage your child to take notes

To enhance working memory while reading, young children can get into the habit of becoming active readers. Encourage your child to underline, highlight or jot down key notes in the margin while reading lengthy books. They might also use sticky notes on pages to write down and group together their ideas about the text. Another great strategy to help your child understand and recall what they have read is by reading the text out loud. By reading aloud together, you can take “mental notes” by pausing and placing an emphasis on key words and ideas, or discussing the meaning of a particular word or event in the text.

5. Prepare

Before your child sits down to read a book, help them prepare by priming their memory. Give your child an idea of what they can expect and what to look out for in a book by discussing the vocabulary and overall topic beforehand. By preparing your child before reading a lengthy text, you are making it easier for them to put the information into context.

Working memory is a skill that can be strengthened over time, and activities like these can be easily built into your child’s daily life. Do you have any tips for boosting your child’s working memory with reading?

ABOUT READING EGGS

Reading Eggs is the comprehensive online reading website that teaches children aged 3-13 essential early reading skills, including fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Special free trial offer: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading can improve in just weeks.