HOW TO SPOT YOUR CHILD’S READING STAGE & TIPS TO HELP THEM ADVANCE
Australian Mum has invited Ryan Spencer (Dymocks Literacy Expert) to offer advice on encouraging your children to read. We hope you find this advice helpful and a valuable resource for home reading.
Learning to read is a crucial stage in any child’s development and most parents are naturally curious and concerned about how their child is advancing. When we are thinking about our children learning to read it is important to remember that age doesn’t equal stage. Kids progress at differing paces and no two children are the same.
Reading development often occurs in three stages – here’s how to spot them.
Stage 1: Emerging Readers
How to Spot Them:
At this early developmental stage, kids are beginning to form an idea of how text works. They will be aware of major moments – beginning, middle and end. Emerging readers will also display an awareness of how pictures and print work together to relay a message – a byproduct of their experience with picture books. Typically, emerging readers will be familiar with around 5-20 high frequency words (words that appear regularly).
- Point out words: A good exercise to constantly work with an emerging reader is by pointing out words in their environment – signs, menus, packaging. It’s a good way to engage them without over stimulating.
- Bedtime talk: Before lights out, spend some time with your little learner to talk about their favourite books. Who were the characters, what happened at the end, why was it funny? The more they think about the text, the more engaged they become.
- Make it relatable: Compare the stories you’re reading to real life experiences. In doing this you’re creating context they can follow. E.g. – “Tom visits his grandparents,” Remember when we visited grandma?
Stage 2: Beginner Readers
How to Spot Them:
When children reach the beginner stage you’ll notice that they become familiar with different types of texts – books, magazines…etc. They’ll also begin to display an independence that is proof of their progress. They’ll choose their own books and read in their own time. A beginner reader will typically identify between 20 – 50 high frequency words and while they’ll still make mistakes, they are likely to correct themselves independently. Beginners will still digest text slowly and may read word by word but are understanding the information on a deeper level.
- Discuss: The best way to help a beginner is simply by opening up a dialogue to aid development. After they’ve finished a book, talk about what they liked and disliked. Encourage a lengthier discussion to expand their ability to understand text.
- Branch out: Another top tip for buoying on beginners is to encourage them to branch out. Explore different authors, styles of text or series.
Stage 3: Fluent Readers
How to Spot Them:
As a fluent reader, your child can usually identify most high frequency words instantly. They’ve also developed tactics to help them overcome difficulties. If they don’t understand a word, instead of asking for help they’ll use the context of the sentence to deduce the meaning. At this stage a child is reading a wide variety of texts frequently, without encouragement from parents.
- Analyse: Working on analytical skills is a smart way to aid the development of a fluent reader. Ask them to break down the components of their reading material. How was the plot developed, what role did the characters play, where was the conflict? Honing their ability to identify techniques is a step in the right direction.
- Compare: Encouraging a fluent reader to compare different styles of texts will be of big benefit. Compare books, genres, graphic novels, magazine articles and talk them through the similarities and differences.
This article is a non-sponsored collaboration. Australian Mum would love to offer you more expert advice on helping our kids with literacy, please share if these topics are important to you. We will invite Ryan back soon to talk some more.