First grade reading is one of the most exciting learning periods for your child. She is going to match letters to sounds (a process is called decoding), see patterns in the spelling of words, and learn to correctly pronounce words. By the end of first grade reading, she will recognize many words and be able to read easy books by herself. An entire universe of new words, sentences and stories is waiting for your child. Help her navigate the journey with these first grade reading tips.
Read and Re-Read
Help your child’s first grade reading by having him re-read favorite books and poems. Seeing the same words over and over helps your child build word banks in his mind so he’ll recognize them more quickly in different contexts. Here are a few more ways to help build these mental word collections:
- Help your child create his own silly poems or rhymes using words from his favorite books.
- When you’re reading these books aloud, take turns reading each page.
- Have your child illustrate his favorite parts of the book.
- Once he is very familiar with the book, have him read it to younger siblings or friends.
Give It Time
Your child is performing a very complex task of recalling sounds that letters make on their own, then blending those sounds together. Give her plenty of time to sound out words, and step in to help only after she’s tried a few times. Learning anything new involves being slightly uncomfortable at first, but once she’s got it, she’ll be brimming with confidence and skill. Try these tricks to enhance first grade reading.
- If a whole word is difficult for your child to understand, use an index card to cover up the latter half of the word and have her sound out only the first part. Once she says the first part correctly, cover that part up and have her sound out the rest.Choosing books that are “just right” during first grade reading will enhance her reading skills by keeping a variety of mildly challenging words flowing through her mind.
- Ask your child’s teacher for book recommendations throughout the year since her skills will be growing, and book interests changing.
Writing during first grade reading helps your child practice sound and letter patterns as well as fine motor coordination. Try some of these activities to enhance first grade reading through writing:
- Have your child create short lists of important words from his favorite books. Compiling these words will help your child internalize them better.
- Ask your child to help you write the grocery list, weekend to-do list, or a letter to a relative or friend. Be sure to have crayons and thick writing tools on hand for your little scribe.
- Journal with your child. Encourage him to draw pictures of people, places and things he likes to think about, and then label the pictures.