First graders are typically reading simple books that allow them to further their phonetic understanding and work on basic comprehension skills. During this year, students also will be asked to identify a list of sight words—these are words young students should recognize on sight.
Some first graders may breeze through reading lessons and read independently, but others may have difficulties. Here’s how to help with reading 1st grade lessons when a child seems to struggle.
Sight Word Practice
For children who have trouble identifying their list of sight words, practice could be the key in helping them gain mastery. Use flash cards or sight word games to make these lessons a bit more fun.
Parents also can make a checklist of sight words and encourage their young reader to go on a sight word scavenger hunt. These games encourage children to find sight words at home or while on errands with parents or caregivers. Children can look for sight words on food labels, store signs, posters, etc.
What are the common sight words that first graders should easily identify? The list may vary, but common words include:
Encourage Daily Reading
At this age, most kids are still sounding out words to make sense of new blends. Some words may be easy for children to master at first glance, but others may be trickier. Parents should encourage children to read daily. However, parents also can read to a child.
When reading stories to children, parents should encourage children to help them to sound out words. Also talk about the story as you read together. Ask questions about the character and the plot. This allows children to think about what is being read.
Some parents may worry if a child skips a night of reading. The 20-minute reading mandate may cause anxiety about accurately logging all those minutes daily. However, parents should try not to be too rigid about the clock. That is, if a child reads for 40 minutes one day and skips another day during the week, the minutes balance out. Weekend reading also can count toward the goal.
Use Reading Worksheets
If a child is having issues sounding out words or recognizing blends, parents can use reading worksheets at home for enrichment. Many teachers will gladly send extra work home upon request. Teachers also can guide parents to websites that offer enrichment worksheets. Parents can visit Education.com for a variety of free reading worksheets to use at home.
Reading and following recipes can help children with their reading. For first-graders, encourage them to read the ingredient list (as it’s fairly simple). Kids also can help parents gather these ingredients at home or find them while shopping.
Recipes include simple instructions, which may be easier for younger children to read. Parents also can choose kid-friendly recipes that are written in an even more simplistic style. Recipes don’t have to be complicated; even the recipe on the back of a gelatin box can be an easy way for children to practice reading skills.
When cooking with kids in the kitchen, always be mindful of safety. Give children roles that are in line with their age and maturity. A first-grader can gather up the veggies or drop cut up produce into a bowl.
Interview Your Child about the Book
The site Great Schools encourages parents to embrace their inner celebrity interviewer. Once your child has finished a book, it’s time to ask the deep questions. Don’t just bombard kids with a list of probing questions, though! Parents should make it fun. Pretend you’re on a talk show, and your child is the guest.
Parent hosts can be silly or outlandish. The key is to get kids talking about the book. Get creative with those questions and find out what kids remember.
Create Book Artwork
Mix art and literacy by encouraging children to draw a picture or create a poster about their book. Parents can ask kids to draw a favorite scene from their book or maybe create a portrait of the character. For portraits, ask kids about the character. What’s the character’s personality? What did they do in the book? Was the character nice?
For scenic drawings, parents can ask children to explain the action that’s taking place. Why was it important to the story? What happened after this event?
Use a Reading App
Kids who are struggling to decipher words or understand the meaning of the story also may benefit from using a reading instruction app like Readability. A built-in AI tutor recognizes a child’s unique voice and provides assistance when a child struggles with pronunciation. The tutor also asks questions about the story to test a child’s understanding of what they have read.
Stories on Readability are leveled to match a child’s unique reading ability, and this ensures that the text is never too easy or too difficult. Parents can follow their child’s progress via the Parent Dashboard, which also displays the child’s engagement time on the app.
Ready to try Readability? Sign up for a free seven-day trial to test out all the features today!