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5 Tips to Rev Up Reading Skills

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Help your young reader develop a love of language. Here's how you can boost your child's reading skills.

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1. Increase Phonemic Awareness

Skill: Understand that words are made of small parts called phonemes.

Teach: Encourage your child to hear and recognize individual sounds in words. Ask your child to pronounce each sound in a word and say the number of sounds. For example, cat has 3 sounds, /c/ /a/ /t/.

2. Focus on Phonics

Skill: Understand the relationship between written letters and spoken sounds.

Teach: Show your child that each letter, or group of letters, is associated with a sound. Have your child read letter sounds, like B says "b" and M says "m." Incorporate letters and sounds into games like "The Name Game" and "I Spy.

3. Ramp Up Reading Fluency

Skill: Know how to read correctly and automatically.

Teach: Ask your child to smoothly read a sentence, one word after another, without stopping until the period. Encourage children to read words in order rapidly and accurately, both silently and aloud.

4. Broaden His Vocabulary

Skill: Know many spoken and written words.

Teach: Explore new and unfamiliar words when reading books together. Tell children how to pronounce words, what words mean and how words are used. Encourage your child to use at least one new word a day in conversation.

5. Amp Up His Reading Comprehension

Skill: Understand, remember, and communicate what is read.

Teach: Show children strategies for understanding and making meaning of what they read. When you finish a story, ask your child, "What was your favorite part?"

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