Boosting Your Child’s Reading Level in 8 Effective Steps

Learning to read comes natural to some youngsters. Others struggle for years with the reading level they are supposed to reach. Moms know that reading is crucial for today’s scholastic achievement and tomorrow’s job market success, but what can you do to help your child? Adding insult to injury, being too heavy-handed can easily turn off a child’s reading enjoyment, making the trek to the appropriate reading level even more arduous. Fortunately, there are eight steps that promise success with learning to read at a higher level.

Set a good example. If junior never sees you cracking the spine of a book, he may wonder what the big deal is with the reading level book the teacher insists on. Make early reading a game. Your preschooler may not be able to read just yet, but she can recognize letters and groups of letters. Encourage her to point out the “th” combination; help her find the “the” combo and then teach her the name of the word. Before long, she will point it out in easy texts. Pick educational TV programs for reading readiness. Young pre-readers delight in watching television and with reading-centered shows, most notably Word World, it is easy to say “yes.” Just be sure to turn off the TV when the educational programming is over. Recognize lacking phonological skills. Is your budding first- or second-grade reader guessing at words or really sounding them out? If going through an appropriate reading level book becomes a guessing game, it is time to re-focus on sounding out words. Let the child pick some books. She may not pick at her reading level, but she will undoubtedly look for books that interest her. Do some leg work later on and find similar books at advanced reading levels. For example, if your child loves “Thomas, the Train” or “Scooby Doo,” do not hesitate to look for books at various reading levels that are higher than her current level. Read together for comprehension. Why did Thomas want to play a trick on the diesel engines? Later on, you might ask why the time traveler showed disgust at the living arrangements of the Eloi and Morlocks. Read together even as the child grows older, and do not shy away from asking plot-related questions. Avoid labeling, but not testing. To test reading level adherence, teachers use a variety of one-on-one and in-class tools. If your child has a difficult time with his assigned reading level, take him to an outside specialist for further testing. Insist on visiting a specialist who is licensed or certified to diagnose ADHD and LDs. Hire a tutor. If all else fails, hire a tutor to provide one-on-one attention for the child. Teachers generally know who the best tutors are for the current and next reading levels.


PBS Kids, “Word World”

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