Rain or snow can keep kids trapped indoors, and parents might look for ways to keep them entertained. Bad weather can be a great day for reading books and helping children become more confident readers.
Here’s how to improve reading fluency at home when kids are stuck inside during rainy, snowy weather or when days are just too cold for heading outdoors.
Use these reading activities to boost fluency:
- Reading races
- Read aloud
- Listen to stories
- Read poetry
- Write stories
- Use reading programs
Do All Kids Need Help with Reading Fluency?
All children can work on reading and improving their fluency and confidence. The more children read, the better they might be at reading. Enjoying books during snow days or indoor rainy days also can help children equate books with entertainment.
Books and quiet reading time or family reading activities can be a fun part of an indoor day. Make some hot cocoa and warm up with a good book!
What is Reading Fluency?
Reading fluency is measured in words read per minute. Reading fluency is how well a child can read without making a mistake. Fluency focuses on accurate decoding, but it also involves a child understanding how to detect emotion or action within a story.
When hearing a story read aloud, for example, a book won’t be entertaining if the reader simply reads the words without any inflection or emotion. Children need to be able to quickly decode words and read with confidence.
Some children struggle with decoding words. Children could require more enrichment or parents could utilize additional tools and resources to provide help for children who struggle with this reading skill.
How All Children Can Work on Reading Fluency
As children are learning to read, they advance through reading levels that pose additional challenges. As reading levels become harder, children may discover words become more difficult to pronounce. Not all words follow the traditional rules of pronunciation.
At home, all children can work on their reading confidence and fluency. However, most children won’t want to read if it feels like a lesson or homework. The goal for parents should be focused on encouraging children and creating an environment that presents reading as a fun activity.
Hold Reading Races
Children who need additional help with boosting their speed and fluency can practice their skills with reading races. Parents can participate, too! In fact, parents can mirror reading for their children through games like reading races.
Grab a stopwatch (smartphones have them!), and encourage children to read a paragraph aloud. The paragraph can be from a book, a magazine, etc. Parents could even have children read a page aloud.
Time children as they read. When they finish, record their time. In reading races, the goal is for a child to practice and beat their best reading time. Remember, the more a child reads, the better and more proficient they can become.
Parents can hold reading races to help children who struggle when reading aloud. During this activity, though, parents shouldn’t criticize. Make it fun. Encourage children.
Tell children not to focus too much on speed; this isn’t about reading fast, it’s about reading fluently and fluidly. Encourage children to focus on reading with confidence and on reading the passage meaningfully—using emotion and emphasizing words when necessary.
Read Aloud Together
Grab a book and read to children. Let children follow along as parents read. Parents also can encourage children to read a page, too. In fact, parents and children can alternate who reads and who listens to the story.
Reading aloud together helps children hear the book and pick up meaning from the narrator. Encouraging children to read aloud helps them practice their reading and build confidence and fluency.
Some children can stumble as they read; parents should encourage them to sound out words. However, parents also can provide help if children can’t decipher a word.
When read to or with children, ask questions about the story. Talk to children about what they think might happen next.
If children are reading aloud to parents, make sure the book is on their reading level. A book that is too difficult or beyond their reading level can result in a child feeling frustrated.
Listen to Books and Stories
Listening to books and stories also can help children with reading fluency. Use audiobooks to let children hear the story as they follow along. These books can help children better understand emotion and pick up on the action of stories by listening to the auditory cues of the narrator.
Smartphones provide access to audiobooks via apps like Apple Books; other ereader apps also might have the option for audiobooks, too. Parents can subscribe to services like Audible for a library of audiobooks or even check out audiobooks from their local library.
Parents might focus on encouraging their child to read books to help improve reading fluency. However, parents might overlook one very important tool: poetry. What makes poetry so wonderful for helping children with fluency is their brevity and their cadence.
The Literacy Junkie explains that poetry can also help with comprehension, too, as building fluency helps the reader with understanding the meaning.
Poetry is like a song; many poems are written with a specific flow and often include rhyming elements or words that simply mirror each other in syllables and sounds. Poetry is fun to read, and there are many poets who are focused on poetry for children.
One of the most beloved children’s poets is Shel Silverstein. His books include humorous poems that children love. Silverstein’s books are a joy to read at any age.
Write Books or Stories
Let children become an author on a rainy or dreary day. Encourage children to write their own story. Use printer paper or construction paper for the cover.
Parents might have children brainstorm ideas for their book and create a loose outline. Maybe children just make up the story as they go. Writing a book helps children identify and create characters and perhaps develop them, too. After writing the story, children can read it aloud to parents.
In addition, writing also makes children focus on how words are correctly spelled and how sentences are constructed. These also are important skills that aid reading fluency.
Use a Reading Program
Children who struggle with reading fluency might need additional enrichment or a more immersive lesson-based approach to help them meet grade-level benchmarks. Reading programs can provide a virtual tutoring opportunity to better guide struggling readers.
Readability focuses on helping children with both fluency and comprehension. Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that guides lessons on the program. When using Readability, children read stories aloud. If they stumble or need help, the tutor provides assistance. At the end of each story, the tutor also asks questions to test a child’s comprehension of what they read.
Children are encouraged to explore words in each book. Every book available on Readability includes a list of vocabulary words, but children can click any word in a story to hear the definition or hear the word used in a sentence. This feature helps children better learn how to pronounce each word correctly and boosts their vocabulary skills, too.
Children also can listen to their favorite Readability stories via the Storytime feature. Children can listen to a story in the car to a game, sports practice, on their way to school or even during a road trip. Readability provides the audiobook experience for children to use anywhere.
Parents might not know if a reading program will benefit their child. Parents can explore Readability with their child using a free seven-day trial. With a free trial, children can explore all the features of the program and use the AI tutor, too. Sign up today and start an online reading adventure!