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Reading tips for every grade

Expert tricks to improve your Kindergartner through 5th grader’s reading.

By Carol Lloyd

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Sometimes kindergartners skip an important step when learning to read— a crucial step that, if missed, makes reading harder later. In teacher speak, it’s called phonemic awareness, and it means learning that every word is a combination of sounds. Before kids learn to sound out words on a page, it’s best if they first get that every spoken word — big, small, or silly — is made up of sounds.

Do this: Practice breaking some spoken words into sounds. “What sounds are in cat?” you might ask your child. “Let’s say the word slowly together. Cat: kuh-a-tuh. Cat.” Don’t even worry about connecting this to the spelling of the word. (That’s another lesson.) After you’ve practiced with a few easy words, try some harder ones like breakfast or window. Again, don’t worry about linking this to a spelling or reading lesson. The important thing is for your child to feel confident in his ability to hear the sounds in words.

Read more about your kindergartner and reading.

is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.