Expert Tips to Boost Reading Skills in Grades 1-2

Help transform your child into an even stronger reader.

May 09, 2022



Expert Tips to Boost Reading Skills in Grades 1-2

May 09, 2022

When it comes to growing as a young reader, there’s no more exciting a time for your child than grades 1 and 2. All the early reading skills they’ve learned — think sight words and phonemic awareness — are converging. And they’re about to make a huge leap on the reading front!

There are ways you can help your child transform into an even stronger reader. These expert tips from Karen Baicker, Executive Director of the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience and publisher for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic, will not only boost reading skills, but ensure your child develops a lifelong passion for reading!

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1. Focus on the Funny

Children look for humor in their books before all other characteristics. 

“Kids at this age tend to love silly humor,” says Baicker. “Reading to laugh is one of the best motivators for young readers.” Baicker suggests checking out goofy book series like Captain Underpants and Junie B. Jones to help your kids build reading skills while laughing out loud.

2. Play With Words

Reading for fun is key to sustained reading engagement. When it comes to playing, imagine words are like toys. 

“Books that feature word play, such as the Amelia Bedelia series, can serve the dual purpose of providing laughs and calling attention to the interplay of sound and meaning,” says Baicker.

3. Be a Reading Role Model

Your child will grow so much just by reading alongside you

“Spend time reading together and take turns reading to each other,” says Baicker. “Model reading fluency when you read and provide just the right amount of support when it's your child's turn.”

4. Follow Your Child’s Heart

When it comes to embarking on a reading journey, your child’s interests should always lead the way. 

“Lean into your child's passions, whether they be dinosaurs, bugs, or baseball,” says Baicker. “Find books on those topics and you can stretch the reading level up considerably, as their interest will carry them through tricky spots.”

5. Help Them Get the Picture (Book)

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a picture can help your child comprehend a thousand words, too. 

“Encourage your child to use the pictures in a book for clues to meaning,” says Baicker. “Pausing to explore the illustrations together will foster your child’s picture-reading skills. This is a valuable comprehension skill.”

6. Embrace the Power of Choice

Providing access to a variety of books will introduce your child to new words and worlds — helping to boost vocabulary and reading comprehension

“Provide as much choice as possible, including different genres, topics, and text types,” says Baicker. “Have a mix of picture books, early chapter books, and magazines on hand.”

7. Sing Your Child’s Praises

A little praise from a parent goes a long way. Be there to provide a hug, high-five, or pat on the back after any at-home reading session!

For more tips on finding books at the right level for your child, visit our guide on reading levels for kids

Shop books to help your child grow as a reader in grades 1-2 below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store

Reading Comprehension
Developing Reading Skills
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Leveled Reading
Word Recognition
Communication and Language Development
Reading Comprehension
Environmental Print