4 Keys to Literacy (page 2)

4 Keys to Literacy

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Updated on May 7, 2013

Decoding and Fluency. The Holy Grail of early literacy, decoding and fluency, can’t be rushed. Kids progress through the stages of literacy at their own pace. Decoding is the ability to use phonics rules to sound out words. To practice decoding, continue to read decodable books. If your child seems frustrated, try this strategy: Read the book to your child, read the book together, then have your child read it alone. Some words, such as sight words, can’t be sounded out, but are common in print. Use flash cards to teach these words. Once your child can decode successfully, it’s time to work on fluency. Fluent reading is reading that sounds like talking—smooth and natural, with voice inflections and appropriate pauses. Read chapter books with your child to model fluency. Have your child read to you occasionally too. Read challenging passages several times.

That’s it—the four steps of learning to read. Although some kids have true reading disabilities that make learning to read more challenging, most kids can successfully learn to read by following these sequential steps. Make early literacy a joyful, bonding experience, and offer lots of repetition, even if that means reading a beloved picture book over—and over, and over.

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