Importance of Reading - Part 2
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Importance of reading cannot be overstated. If you have a child who is struggling in reading, take a look at the five crucial areas of concern.

The first two areas of concern were discussed in Importance of Reading - Part 1.

Here in Part 2 we begin with the third crucial area of concern:

3. Reading Fluency

Can your child read a paragraph accurately and quickly?

Does your child read word-by-word? To understand what is read, the child must learn to read words quickly and accurately.

Readers who read slowly are weak in fluency. They have to spend too much time decoding words instead of comprehending what the material is about.

What you can do …

  • Given plenty of examples, a child can learn. Here's how ... Read to him. Whenever you read to him at the proper speed AND with good intonations you are modeling how reading should be properly done.
  • Children learn by practicing. Here's how ... Listen to your child read. Choose books that he’s interested in AND ones that are easy for him to read. They should be on his recreational reading level.

  • Another powerful way to improve reading fluency is to help him learn the sight words.

4. Vocabulary Development

Does your child know the meaning and pronunciation of the word?

Help your child become a better reader by building his vocabulary.

What you can do …

  • Read to him daily - about a variety of subjects.
  • Let him HEAR the new word and SEE the new word in print.
  • Later, use the new word when you speak to him.
  • Write the new word in a sentence - that makes sense to him - and have him read it aloud to you. Ask him to tell you what it means.

5. Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is understanding what you have read; it is not simply the calling out of words.

You want your child to read, understand, and remember what was read. You want him to be able to tell you.

Good readers realize the importance of reading, so they apply reading comprehension strategies to make sure they understand what they read.

What you can do …

  • Make sure your child isn’t confusing the meanings of words ... Before you read, introduce the new vocabulary that will be found in the passage or the story. Help him understand the meaning of the word or its concept.
  • In a nonfiction passage, help him recognize the main idea.
  • To determine if he knows the important details in a passage, ask questions about what he has read.
  • Whenever he’s reading, check to see if he’s paying attention, interested, and focused. Students who comprehend what they read, read with a purpose in mind. They are focused on finding out what they want to know. Give him a purpose for reading by asking him questions. For example, say, “What do you think happens next?”
  • Help him choose books to read. Again, start with topics he’s interested in.
  • Can he find and connect the important parts in a story or a nonfiction passage?
  • Look at the book he is about to read … What is it about? Now, think about a personal experience your child has had with the same subject found in the book. Talk about his personal experience. Say, “Remember when … " This will help him relate to the story or understand what the passage is about.
  • Can he remember what he has read? Ask him to tell you (in a sentence or two) what the material was about?
  • Most of all, you can demonstrate the importance of reading in YOUR life by purchasing magazines and books, by visiting the library, and by showing your enthusiasm whenever you read something that excites you. By allowing your child to see you reading and enjoying it, you are being a powerful influence in the right direction.

* * *

I hope these tips will help your child begin to understand the importance of reading ... And if I had to choose the most important thing and the easiest, I'd say read to your child and SHOW that you love doing it!


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