As a certified Reading Specialist, I have assisted more than a thousand students in developing their literacy skills. For one reason or another, children may fall behind with their reading skills. It happens. But rather than making a “wait and see” approach to see if it remedies itself, it is essential to be proactive when finding a solution.
Luckily, there are plenty of research-based reading interventions that can get your child back on track. It is essential to use research-based strategies as they are proven to work through educational studies and assessments. The best part about these interventions is that they can be completed at home or in the classroom. Educators and parents can both tackle these interventions with children.
Reading Fluency Interventions
For many younger students, their problem with fluency stems from them just not receiving enough actual time reading. If the kids are not reading at home with their parents, they are arriving at school already behind. I get that life can be so hectic that it can be tough to find time to read with your child, but this is one of the most important things you can do early on in your child’s life.
Of course, there are other things that a child could be struggling with that may be the fluency issue. Fortunately, there are several reading interventions that a teacher or parent can use to improve a student’s literacy skills. While there are reading intervention programs, some of them can be pretty expensive. Most of these interventions can be carried out relatively inexpensively by educators and parents and do not take an immense amount of time to do.
- Systematic and sequential phonics and decoding program will have the child break down words they were struggling with by associating letters and sounds with one another. There are plenty of these programs available online for about the price of a meal at the local fast food place.
- Practicing Fry’s Instant Sight Words would be highly beneficial for younger students as they learn the words most frequently used in print in the English language. If they can master the first 300 words, they are in great shape! The first 300 words on the list make up 65 percent of all written material.
- Increase reading time at home and school. Children reading most often will usually be the best readers in the class for a reason. To help with finding books that interest the child, the local library should be your first stop.
- Rereading will increase fluency as well as the student becomes more familiar with the text. Ask them to reread some of their favorite books aloud to you and see how they are doing.
- Through technology, a simple read-aloud online will have students learning more words as they follow along with the voice narrating the story. Plus, there are plenty of websites that offer free books online.
Reading Comprehension Strategies
There are times when a student’s comprehension is suffering because they are having trouble reading the material. This means that it stems from a fluency problem. But there are other times when there is an actual comprehension problem with a child. Luckily, there are plenty of good research-based strategies that can help fix the problem.
- Increase background knowledge on the subject. If a student has the appropriate background knowledge, understanding new material is much easier.
- Predicting is another comprehension strategy that makes the reader actively think at all times.
- Inferring asks the student to deduce what is happening in the text even when it is not stated.
- If a student can visualize what is going on in the text, they can understand it better. Perhaps drawing on paper or constructing a diorama will help.
- Once again, reread the material to comprehend it better.
- By practicing retelling and summarizing skills, a student can put what is happening in the text in their own words.
- Questions and quizzes can determine if a student understands the material. It doesn’t have to be a five-page test on a story. Instead, five minutes of asking questions about the text to a student should allow you to determine if their comprehension is getting better.
It can take a bit of time before these interventions begin to make a noticeable difference. Do not give up on these interventions because the students are not “fixed” after one week. There will be progress, but give it a few weeks and assess whether there is a quantitative and qualitative improvement.
If you would like some additional professional help for the child, iAchieve has plenty of qualified tutors that will work with them either online or in person. With everyone working towards helping the child become a stronger reader, it is only a matter of time before they improve dramatically.