Seeing your child finally be able to read on their own can feel like a big accomplishment for both your child and yourself. By 2nd grade, your child is ready to move on from reading mostly picture books to full on chapter books!
However, making that transition can be daunting for new readers, but there are simple ways to help 2nd grader with reading chapter books that will get them motivated and excited to read.
What is the reading level for 2nd grade?
2nd grade is when your child is able to read independently. They should be able to identify over 200 sight words.
They can read and create complete sentences as well as should be able to read short paragraphs on their own.
They are able to read much more fluently and have an expanded vocabulary. They also are using reading comprehension skills so they should be able to easily understand and make connections to the reading.
Should second graders be reading chapter books?
Since your child has much more advanced reading skills by now, it would be a great time to introduce them to reading chapter books. Many parents might wonder if their child is ready to be reading chapter books in the second grade.
There are many great beginning chapter books that are appropriate for your second grader to begin reading. Getting them to read chapter books is a great way to enhance their reading skills and to improve their reading levels.
According to Judy Packhem, a certified reading specialist and consultant, instead of considering the right age for reading a chapter, you should find the right match of book to the reader, “A good match holds a child’s interest and can be read with 95 percent or higher accuracy.”
Packhem recommends using the 5-Finger Rule when introducing new books to your child. The 5-Finger Rule is a way to measure if a book is too challenging or the right level for your child.
Have your child begin reading a book, every time your child runs into a word they do not know they raise one finger. If they raise five fingers before they get to the end of the page, the book is too challenging for them to read.
Some relatively new readers might feel too intimidated to start reading chapter books. Really it is a matter of choosing the right book for them to read. Finding the right one can help them feel motivated to read.
How can I help my 2nd grader with reading chapter books?
- Choose a series – Chapter books can feel intimidating to new readers at first. The key is to find a book that will interest them and keep them wanting to read more.
You should consider getting your child a book series. These often help kids to keep wanting to read more and helps to invest them into a story.
- Read the book in sessions – Never rush your child to finish a book. In fact, you should encourage them to go through the book slowly when they are first getting into chapter books.
They can start off by reading one chapter each week. Then, if they enjoy the book, you can bump that up to a chapter a day. Reading the book slowly can help them get through it easier and at their own pace.
- Practice remembering the story – The big difference between picture books and chapter books is obviously a longer story. This, however, should not be seen as something challenging. Instead, this is a great way for your child to practice good reading comprehension and retention skills such as reviewing what they have read and recalling information.
- Do not stop reading picture books – Once your child has made the transition to chapter books, it does not mean they have to stop reading picture books. In fact, picture books also bring many benefits to the reading process that chapter books often do not.
Picture books help your new reader understand the reading better because of accompanying illustrations. They also help to advance language skills and review established reading skills.
- Practice with reading apps – Getting your child to read chapter books is great, but it is best to ease them into the process. To help them get used to reading chapter books, you can use reading apps such as Readability which help enhance your child’s independent reading.
Readability actually helps your child read a story just like a private tutor. The app gives the option of reading the story to your child as they follow along or they have the option of reading the story aloud as the app listens to them. The app then gives them feedback and error correction.
- Familiarize them with chapter book structures – Chapter books often have additional areas that picture books do not have. Before introducing your child to chapter books, it is important to familiarize them with how chapter books are structured such as additional headers, chapters, and paragraphs.
Your child might be struggling to read these longer books at the beginning but that is normal. You can help them along the way to learn to read chapter books easily and be able to actually enjoy them.
Using tools such as Readability can make the process even easier and can help your child enhance their reading skills in general to become a better reader.