As one of the last years of elementary school, 4th grade is when kids start to prepare to transition to middle school. If your child falls behind in 4th grade—especially in reading—it could affect their academic success for years to come.
Although most children become fluent and independent readers by age 7, some children will continue to struggle well into 4th grade. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for parents to help their 4th graders become better readers. Here’s how to help my 4th grader with reading:
What Should A 4th Grader Know in Reading?
You won’t be able to help your child with reading if you aren’t aware that they are struggling. That’s why parents need to understand what reading skills their child should have mastered by the time they are in 4th grade. Fourth graders should know how to:
- Summarize the main ideas of a story.
- Compare and contrast books, ideas, opinions, and authors.
- Read books at grade level 4.
- Use the context of a passage to figure out what an unfamiliar word means.
- Understand the difference between narrative, prose, fiction, nonfiction, and other types of text.
- Extract meaning from illustrations, charts, graphs, and other figures found in nonfiction texts.
- Analyze text to find deeper meanings, themes, and ideas.
- Discuss central themes, characters’ motivations, and other ideas.
If your child has not developed these skills, they may need additional instruction outside of the classroom to improve their reading skills.
How Can I Improve My 4th Grader’s Fluency & Decoding Skills?
Your child’s fluency and decoding skills should be strong by the time they reach 4th grade. But if your child is still struggling to master these skills, there are ways you can help them at home. Follow these tips:
- Read aloud. Don’t stop reading aloud to your child simply because they are old enough to be reading on their own. Continue to read aloud to them so they can hear what reading fluently sounds like and model their behavior after yours.
- Play word games together to build their sight word vocabulary. The more words they can recognize, the more fluently they will read.
- Let your child reread their favorite books. This may seem counterproductive, but rereading the same material can actually help your child become a stronger, more fluent reader.
- Instruct your child to read aloud for one minute. Use a stopwatch to time them and take notes on the words they mispronounce. Once the minute is over, go back and teach them the correct way to pronounce these words. Then, repeat this activity so your child can reread the same passage using the correct pronunciations.
How Can I Help My 4th Grader With Reading Comprehension?
Most 4th graders already have strong decoding and fluency skills, which is why 4th grade curriculum focuses primarily on improving reading comprehension skills. If your child is struggling to extract meaning from text, here’s how you can improve these crucial reading comprehension skills at home:
- Create graphic organizers such as flowcharts, Venn diagrams, and storyboards to help your child understand the text. For example, create a storyboard to illustrate the main events of a story or a flowchart to illustrate the cause-effect relationship between main events.
- Compare the book to the movie. Ask your child to read a book that has been made into a movie. Then, watch the movie together. Discuss the similarities and differences between the book and movie.
- Ask questions. Get your child thinking about the text on a deeper level by asking “why” questions. Examples of “why” questions include “Why did the character act this way?” or “Why did this event occur?”
- Connect the story to something that happened in your child’s life. For instance, if a character is bullied, remind your child how they felt when they were picked on at school. Helping your child make this connection will make it easier for them to analyze and extract meaning from the text.
What is the Best Way to Teach Your 4th Grader to Read?
Teaching a child to read isn’t easy, which is why parents will need all the help they can get. The Readability app is one of the most effective tools you can use to help your 4th grader become a better reader.
This smart reading and comprehension learning app is designed to help kids at reading levels K-5 improve their phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension skills. Thanks to advanced speech recognition and artificial intelligence technologies, 4th graders can communicate with the Readability app just like they would with a reading tutor.
Download the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet to start your free 7-day trial today.