Independent reading is when your child is able to read consistently with minimal to no help. Most kids start to learn to read independently in school with teachers being there to guide them when necessary. However, the coronavirus outbreak has caused thousands of schools to close leaving many children without the regular resources they need to learn.
Being able to read independently is important for children because it helps encourage independent learning as well. Knowing how to help a child to learn how to read independently can make a big difference in your child’s progress and learning process.
There is a strong association between independent reading and reading achievement as reading independently helps improve fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It is also closely related to motivation because kids that are able to read independently are motivated to read more and become interested in reading.
At what age should a child read independently?
There are different stages for reading progress. Most children are able to read independently at ages 7-8 years old or 2nd-3rd grade. While this is the average age of reading independence, some children might still be struggling to read independently.
If your child is struggling to read independently, they could also end up struggling in other ways in school. Struggling to read might also mean they are struggling to understand their assignments. So, learning to read independently is an important skill your child must learn in order to be successful in school.
When they struggle to read independently, they might lose motivation and have little encouragement to practice. Luckily, there are some simple strategies you can use at home to help them learn how to read independently.
How can I encourage my child to read independently?
A key to helping your child learn to read independently is to build their motivation to practice at home. These are some easy and simple reading tips you can start using to help encourage them to read independently:
- Modeling independent reading – Kids learn best when they have a model to follow. They are likely to copy habits from you, so make sure you are modeling independent reading at home. Instead of sitting to watch television after dinner, curl up with a good book and set some time to read by yourself. This can encourage your child to do the same.
- Schedule reading time – Reading independently takes practice just like any other skill. You can help make sure they get enough practice by scheduling reading time every day. Scheduling a set time for the whole family to read together independently shows that reading is a priority.
- Talk about what they are reading – When you ask your child about what they are reading, they can see that you are actually interested and excited about what they are reading and learning. This can also help you see how their reading comprehension is developing.
- Use books as a reward – Instead of using treats or toys as a reward, you can use books as a reward for your children. By making a big deal out of getting a new book, you show your children the value of books and encourage them to be excited to read.
- Set reading goals – Reading goals helps encourage and motivate your child to read independently when they meet their reading goals. Make sure to document your child’s reading goals and accomplishments in a fun way such as through a reading chart or reading journal.
- Use audiobooks – Everyone learns in different ways and some children might prefer auditory learning. Instead of relying on printed books, you can incorporate using audiobooks. This is also a great way for your child to hear a model of good reading as well.
- Get a virtual reading tutor – If your child is still struggling to read independently, you might want to look into a reading tutor. However, tutoring can be expensive and is not available around the clock for your child. Utilizing a virtual reading tutor can be the key to getting your child to read independently.
While schools continue to be closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, your child is likely lacking the resources they need to help them with learning to read. Apps like Readability provide a virtual reading tutor that your child can access whenever they want. Readability has different features that use AI technology and speech recognition to help your child learn to read independently. Readability provides plenty of original stories at different reading levels. The app listens to your child as they read aloud and gives them instant feedback. It also provides you with a progress report so you can see how your child is doing.
Knowing how to help a child to learn how to read independently can make a world of difference for their academic success. Using some or all of the strategies mentioned can get them reading independently quickly.