First grade is a pivotal time in your child's education. It is in first grade when the development of reading becomes extremely important. There is so much that goes into learning to read, from letter and sound recognition, to blending sounds, decoding, reading fluently, and so much more. Then there's the comprehension part. It's not just important to know how to read the words, but also understand what the text is saying.
There is so much a child needs to learn to truly master reading, and it really goes beyond that which they are learning in school. It is up to us parents to help support the development of this fundamental academic skill.
How to Support Your Child's Reading
The great thing is most of us already do they very thing that will help our children learn to read, and that is reading with them. Taking the time to read with your first grader every night will do wonders for their reading. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it provides the added practice necessary in developing any skill.
During your reading time, reading to them and listening are both very important. By reading aloud to your child, you model the sounds of words, how to read fluently and how to read with expression and emotion.
By listening to your child read, you allow them to practice. You can help guide them if they make a mistake or get stuck on a word. Plus you offer support and encouragement that will boost their self-esteem as a reader.
To really get your children excited about reading, we recommend choosing books that are interesting to them. Choosing books your child likes will keep them engaged and wanting to read.
Many children usually find fiction books much more interesting and easier to read. Developing a love for reading can be crucial in your child's journey, and if choosing high-interest fiction books is the way to achieve this, then that is absolutely fine.
Also, be sure the books they are reading to you or by themselves are at their level. Reading books that are too easy will not challenge them and books that are too hard will confuse and frustrate them, leading them to want to give up. If you are unsure about your first grader's reading level, be sure to ask the teacher.
How to Check for Understanding
As stated earlier, the comprehension part of reading is also extremely important. Based on the Common Core State Standards used by schools to guide planning and teaching, there are certain questions children should be able to answer when reading.
As teachers we ask these questions all the time, during story time, reading groups and tests. There are questions we ask before reading, during reading, and after reading that help us determine how well a child understands the text.
When reading to or listening to your child read, you can also ask these questions. You will quickly know whether your child is understanding what they are reading and be able to guide them in their thinking.
To help support you, we have actually created an easy to follow list with questions when reading fiction books that meet the Common Core State Standards. You can find the sign-up to download below. The questions are divided into before, during, and after reading and can be printed to have on hand.
We hope these tips and this free printable resource will help you when reading with your child.