First grade is one of the most important years of your child’s early academic career. Kindergarten revolves around fun and games, but in first grade, children will spend most of their time on developing crucial academic skills, including reading.
Reading is one of the main areas of focus in first grade. But unfortunately, many children struggle to learn to read in first grade.
Failing to build a strong reading foundation in first grade could negatively impact the rest of your child’s elementary school years. If your child is struggling to read, it’s important to provide them with additional instruction outside of the classroom. Here’s how to help your first grader read at home:
What Should A First Grader Be Able to Read?
Every parent should know what their child should be able to read in the first grade. Otherwise, it will be difficult for you to spot the signs that your child is falling behind in reading.
Every child learns at a different pace. But in general, your child should have mastered these reading skills by the time they finish first grade:
- Understand the basic features of a sentence, such as the capitalization of the first letter and the punctuation mark at the end.
- Fluently read one-syllable words.
- Know how adding an ‘e’ to the end of a word can change the sound and meaning of the word.
- Sound out complex, multi-syllable words by breaking them down into smaller parts.
- Recognize the difference between fiction and non-fiction text.
- Read grade level text aloud at the appropriate speed and with proper expression.
If your child is not on track to master these skills by the end of first grade, they may need additional reading help to keep up with their classmates.
How Many Sight Words Should A First Grader Know?
“Sight words” are words that appear frequently in children’s text. Some examples of sight words include “the,” “he,” “she,” “they,” “said,” “what,” “who,” and “where.”
Having a broad sight word vocabulary is an important part of becoming a better reader in the first grade. The more sight words your child knows, the easier it will be for them to fluently read text.
Kids in first grade should know at least 150 sight words. If your child does not know this many sight words, this is an area you should focus on when helping them become better readers.
How Can I Help My First Grader Read Better?
Struggling readers need all the help that they can get in order to succeed. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for parents to help their first graders improve their reading skills at home. Start with these strategies:
- Try the “modeling” strategy. Modeling involves reading a passage aloud to your child at a normal pace and with the appropriate expression. Then, instruct your child to read the same passage aloud to you with the same pace and expression.
- Encourage your child to reread their favorite books. Rereading books will help your child improve their fluency skills and become a more confident reader.
- Read together as a family. Take turns reading a book aloud as a family. Then, ask every member of the family to discuss what they liked and didn’t like. Ask each other questions about the text, too. Having this type of discussion will help your child improve their reading comprehension skills.
- Play silly word games to help your first grader broaden their sight word vocabulary.
- Help them identify context clues within the passage and in illustrations that they can use to figure out something they don’t understand in the text.
- Correct their pronunciation mistakes. Ask them to read aloud to you and listen for any pronunciation errors. If you hear one, be sure to stop and correct them right away. If you wait too long to correct their errors, they won’t be able to learn from their mistakes.
- Set daily reading goals. Practice makes perfect when it comes to reading, which is why you should encourage your child to read at least 20 minutes per day. If your child reaches this goal every day for a week, reward them with a trip to the ice cream store or small prize.
Implementing one or more of these strategies at home will help your first grader become a better reader in no time!
What is the Best Way to Teach Your First Grader to Read?
There are countless tools and resources out there that parents can use to teach their children how to read, but none that can compare to the Readability app. This app uses advanced speech recognition and artificial intelligence technology to read aloud, listen to your child read aloud, and correct their pronunciation errors in real time. Using the Readability app is just like working with a digital reading tutor.
Your first grader can use Readability to improve their decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension skills. Download the app on your smartphone or tablet to start your free 7-day trial today.