Please welcome my guest author, Kathryn Starke, who is am an urban elementary school literacy specialist, children’s author, freelance writer, and the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications and Consulting.
Reading Strategies for Independent Reading
How do we get our children to become independent readers? The first step is to allow them to be independent thinkers and provide them with the techniques that allow them to figure out words on their own. Many parents, by no fault of their own, always want to tell a child the word they don’t know. If the child is six years old and the word is monumental, for example, you can definitely step in and assist. If the unknown word is something like the word standing, there are some tricks to teach your child when decoding new words.
First, look for hidden words; these are real words that are located within the larger word. For example, men are found in monumental, and the word and is clear in standing. Children love to be reading detectives and giving them the task of finding hidden words before asking for assistance is essential. Let’s look closely at the word standing, a simple decoding word for a first-grader. Before the hidden word (and) your child will recognize the blend st; after the hidden word, your child will see the coming ending ing. Once these parts have been identified, it’s time to go sliding. I have my students slide their fingers from the beginning to the end of the word to read the new word and then repeat it again so it becomes a new word in their reading vocabulary.
Another trick is recalling rhyming words; nursery rhymes, children’s songs, and jump roping chants are not obsolete. Young children that are exposed to these varieties of text are usually early readers and can quickly decode new words. These children easily recognize the word book because they know the words look, cook, and hook all have the same ending sounds.
Finally, to ensure your child has smooth, fluent reading after decoding difficult words, encourage her to reread the sentence or page. You as the listener will be able to hear a huge difference in the child’s oral reading skills. You may even want to echo read with your child, so he or she can understand exactly what great readers sound like. You read a sentence then have your child echo you, reading the same sentence in the same exact manner in which you read, decoding, expression, and all. Your encouragement and helpfulness will enable your child to become an independent reader and lifelong learner.
Kathryn Starke is an urban elementary school literacy specialist with over a decade of experience. She is the founder/CEO of Creative Minds Publications and Consulting, a global educational company that promotes quality literacy instruction for all children. In addition, she is a children’s author, public speaker, and freelance writer. Visit www.creativemindspublications.
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