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10 ways to help your child with fluency

Easy tips for revving up this essential reading skill.

By Bruce Johnson

1.Easy books, books a child has read before, and old favorites are most appropriate.

2. Reading aloud is great practice.

3. Paired Reading. An adult and a child read together at the same time. The adult reads loud enough for the child to hear both the adult voice and his or her own voice, and remembers to read slowly at the child’s reading pace. Some parents complete all of the reading together. Other parents start reading together, the child signals when ready to read solo, and then the reading is completed by the child.

4. Echo Reading. The adult reads a paragraph, sentence, or phrase and the child reads the same section afterwards, like an echo. Some readers can manage echo reading a full paragraph. Others can manage only a phrase.

5. Shared Reading. The adult and the child share the reading by taking turns reading aloud. This can be done with two different kinds of texts. With a regular book, the adult and child just take turns reading. The adult starts the reading, and looks ahead for shorter sentences, passages the child can read, or words the child may know. The child reads those parts. In some books, the texts for the parent and the child are different. The parent reads the more sophisticated text and the child reads selections written at the child’s level. Check out We Both Read books.

6. Books on tape.

7. Older children read to younger children.

8. Read aloud while riding in the car.

9. Family members bring a favorite passage or favorite poem to read out loud at the dinner table.

10. Read from a comic book and mimic how the character may speak the part.

Excerpted from Involving Parents in Their Children's Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers

Educator and reading specialist Bruce Johnson is the author of Involving Parents in Their Children’s Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers.

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