Over 124,000 public and private schools in the U.S. have temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means millions of children are at home, relying on online instruction from their teachers and help from their parents to make it through the remainder of the school year. Many parents want to use this time to teach important reading skills to their children, but they aren’t sure where to start or what areas to focus on. Here’s how to help my child read on grade level during the coronavirus pandemic:
How Do I Determine My Child’s Reading Level?
Parents need to know their child’s current reading level so they know where to begin with their reading instruction. If you can, reach out to your child’s teacher to find out their current reading level. Most teachers are still available online or by phone even though schools are temporarily closed.
If your child’s teacher is not available—or does not have this information—you can determine your child’s reading level using a home assessment. This assessment will only take about five to ten minutes to complete.
What Are the Seven Reading Strategies?
Studies have shown that parents and teachers should introduce the seven strategies of effective readers to kids in order to help them become stronger readers. These seven strategies are:
This strategy involves activating the brain to recall prior knowledge that may be relevant to the text. Kids should draw on their own experience as well as things they’ve learned about in school.
For example, if your child is reading a story about camping, ask them to think about the time they went on a family camping trip. Remembering details from this experience could help your child understand the context of the text better.
Inferring involves combining what is explicitly stated and what is implied in the text. Encourage your children to make inferences by asking questions such as:
- Why do you think the character did _____?
- Why would the character say ______?
- What was the author trying to tell you by ______?
This motivates kids to think beyond the text, which will help them become stronger readers.
As your child reads, make sure they are actively monitoring their comprehension of the text. Instruct them to pause at the end of a page or chapter so they can check in with themselves to determine whether or not they understand what they are reading.
Get them in the habit of performing this quick mental check so they don’t make the mistake of mindlessly reading without absorbing the content.
The best way to gain a deeper understanding of the story is to ask and answer questions about it. Some examples of questions that your child should be able to answer include:
- Who was the main character?
- What were the main events that took place?
- What lesson can you learn from this story?
- Where did the story take place?
If they aren’t able to answer these questions, they may be struggling to understand the content.
Help your child comprehend what they are reading by providing them with the resources they need to lookup things they don’t know. For example, if your child is running into words they don’t know, make sure they have a dictionary they can use to look up unfamiliar words.
After your child has finished a story, ask them to summarize what happened. But make sure your child is summarizing the story in their own words—not words from the text. Being able to rephrase the events of a story shows that your child has strong reading comprehension skills.
Parents and children should work together to create visuals that help children better understand what they are reading.
For example, create a flowchart that shows the sequence of events that took place in the story. If there are a lot of characters, create a graphic organizer that shows how they are related to one another.
What is the Most Effective Way to Teach Reading?
There’s no doubt that parents have a lot on their plates right now. Fortunately, parents don’t have to take on the added stress of teaching their children how to read. Instead, parents can take advantage of the Readability app, which can serve as your child’s digital reading tutor.
Readability is the only reading fluency and comprehension app that kids can access anywhere at any time. Encourage your kids to use the Readability app on a daily basis so they can become better readers by the time the coronavirus pandemic has been resolved. Download the app on your smartphone or tablet today to start your free 7-day trial.