These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

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My kids have loved books and reading since they were really young. I have pictures and videos of them reading to themselves and others. They often grab books over toys. But I know it isn’t that way for every child and some children struggle to read. This can be frustrating for both parents and their children. One of my kid’s teachers sent a paper home with these reading tips and I loved them so much that I wanted to share so that others could have this as a resource.

Giving our children different tools they can use as they learn to read will help them become more confident in their abilities. Because English is not a completely phonetic language, relying on the “sound-it-out” strategy is not the most effective way to support a child’s reading. To become a fluent reader, more strategies are required. Here are 9 tips to help your child read better:

Sight Words

Some words cannot be sounded out and just have to be learned by memory. These are commonly referred to as “sight words”. My oldest two kids both started learning sight words in kindergarten. Words such as: in, the, they, to, see, my, and, me are examples of sight words. Good readers need a memorized word bank for automatically recognizing words and creates fluency in reading.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Lips Ready

Ask a child stuck on a word to get his or her “lips ready” for the first sound. By making an attempt to really notice the first sound, it is often enough for the child to try to finish the word.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Use Context

Use context to figure out a word. What you can do is tell your child to “skip” the word and keep reading the sentence. Most often, they realize they can figure out the word by using this strategy. If they are still stuck, have them refer to the pictures for additional context or use another strategy mentioned within this post.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Fix-up Bear

Fix-up bear means it is alright to go back and reread and fix an error. They do not have to race through reading just to be done. Additionally, we shouldn’t expect our children to get it right the first time, every time. Remind them that we read to understand. If we make an error, it should be fixed and that’s totally okay.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Whisper It Out

Whisper it out strategy. This is different from the “sound it out” strategy which uses strong, separate sounds the child is trying to connect together. When we whisper, we naturally connect sounds as they should be connected in reading. This is one of the best strategies, but it doesn’t work for all words.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Later on as the words get harder we can:

Flip the Sound

This is sort of an amazing strategy. If a child reads a long vowel word with a short vowel, or a short vowel sound with a long vowel, you can say, “Flip the sound.” Somehow children seem to instinctively know to try again with another sound. At the emergent level, though, children do not know the long vowel sounds so this doesn’t apply.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Ask “Did that make sense?”

Try a word and see if it makes sense. Sometimes children will read a sentence saying a word that doesn’t fit. You can ask, “Did that make sense?” Children need to learn to trust themselves by thinking about the sentence, not just the word. We ask, “What would make sense in this sentence that also begins with that letter?”

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Make Connections

Make connections between similar words to read a new word. For instance, if you know the word cake, you can more easily read the word lake. Or if you know the word cook, it is easier to connect that to the word cookie, than to completely sound it out all over again.

These 9 tips will help your child become a better, more fluent reader, allowing their skills to increase and boost their confidence. (Spoiler: It's more than just "sound it out".)

Do you have any other tips that have helped your child read better?

If your child needs a little extra help with learning their alphabet, or you just want to give them a head start, check out this great post on 12 ways to teach your child the alphabet!

Below you’ll find a list of the books my kids are reading in the above pictures:

I Will Take A Nap by Mo Willems

Dragon is Coming by Valeri Gorbachev

How to Track A Dragon by Erica David

If You Made A Million by David M Schwartz

Big Book of the Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Geronimo Stilton series by Lorenzo De Pretto

Time for Bed (Snuggle Bunny) by Anna Award

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