It doesn’t matter if your child can fluently read by themselves, you still need to be reading with your child.
This probably isn’t a startling statement to you, however you may be missing a few strategies when it comes to reading with fluent readers. As homeschooling parents, we are often so caught up on making sure our children can read, we may forget to challenge them once we’ve completed this mission.
Those first few years of homeschooling we are constantly making sure we reading the decodable readers, working on the right sight words, and completing all of the phonics activities. Once these little learners are reading on their own it’s fine to let them leave the nest and begin reading all of those great children’s chapter books on their own. Right?
It is exciting to see our children enthusiastically reading Judy Bloom, Ronald Dahl, or any of the other popular children’s authors on their own. But one thing we want to do is to keep challenging our children in their reading skills. We want them to be active in their reading. But first, how do you know your child is a fluent reader? Here are some of the signs:
Your child can read at an early age
Your child may have taught themselves to read
Your child requires less drill and kill methods
Your child reads 3 to 4 times more than their peers
Your child understands and uses advanced vocabulary
Your child may begin to read abstract genres such as fantasy and nonfiction at an early age
If your child exhibits any of these signs, it’s important to read with your child for a short time every day. Most of the time they may choose their own chapter book, but make sure you are reading a chapter or two aloud to them everyday. This way you can talk about the book and make sure the book matches their maturity level. Here are some suggestive strategies to challenge your advanced reader to make sure they are getting the instruction they need.
As your child is reading their novel, have a sticky notepad near by. After each chapter they read, invite them to write questions they have onto a sticky note. They can then place the sticky note where they have a question. At the end of their reading session, sit down with your child and read through their questions together.
Text to Self
Good readers make connections with the story. When you are reading to your child, model how to make a text to self connection. When you come to a part in the story that reminds you of something say, “This reminds me of the time when……” Provide your child with the opportunity to make text to self connections as they are reading to themselves. Provide sticky notes for them to stop and write down their connections. Be sure to talk with them about these connections after they finish reading.
Sometimes children will dig a little deeper into their books if they know they are going to write a recommendation for it. Rating a book is a good way to keep kids engaged in what they are reading. Have them write down their favorite parts of the book and give reasons why others should read the book as well.
Build Reading Strategies
Have your child keep a reading journal. Your child can make a list of characters and then compare two of the characters by writing down similarities and differences. If they are reading a nonfiction article, they can take two different pieces of information to compare and contrast. Make sure you child is doing some type of writing in their reading journals one to two times per week.
After you and your child have selected an entertaining story with rich characters, challenge your child to write a short script for the book. Then spend a few days rehearsing and making props. Your child may even enjoy writing another chapter to be included in the book.
It’s an exciting time to see your child spread their wings and take off with their reading. Just be sure they come back to the nest now and then to keep their beautiful minds fully engaged in the reading process.
Christa is a former classroom teacher turned homeschooling mama to three precious angels! She runs a cottage school for other homeschooled families two days a week and teaches music/history at a tutorial school. When she’s not teaching, she spends her time as a curriculum designer, freelance writer, and blogger at Little Log Cottage School. She’s passionate about quiet time in the morning, cooking meals from scratch, and making learning fun! You can find her on Little Cottage School.