Children learn to walk and talk naturally, but that’s not the case with reading. Reading strategies are designed to help your child develop a strong reading foundation — one built with confidence, engagement, and joy!
As a parent, you are most likely always looking for techniques that make your child want to learn. We’re here to help you and your child on their journey as a budding reader.
Try the five reading-strategy suggestions below for kids who are beginning to read all the way to those reading advanced chapter books! We’ve made it easy for you to see what skill each strategy focuses on so you can help your child in a way that’s right for their reading level.
5 Fun And Helpful Reading Strategies
Reread Familiar Texts
You may feel pressured to always offer your child new and different stories. While that is great, it can also be just as helpful for your child to read the same book more than once.
Rereading helps your child in two major ways. It gives them confidence by letting them choose what to read, and it improves their fluency since they are more familiar with the words in the book, which means they can really indulge in and enjoy the story!
As the text becomes easier for your little one to read, they will feel a sense of accomplishment because they are reading with the ease of a fluent reader — this is a huge step for your child!
Reading aloud with your child is a great way to encourage them to read. Your child adores you — you’re probably their biggest inspiration! So when you have fun reading, they’ll want to join in.
Bedtime stories are an easy way to incorporate daily reading into your busy family routine. This time gives you and your child a chance to unwind and connect with one another.
While you read together, encourage your child to read as much of the text as they can. And before turning the page, ask them what they think will happen next. This helps them connect more deeply with the story by developing empathy for the characters or appreciating the humor.
Sometimes, though, your child might be shy about reading in front of you or answering questions. They know reading is important, and they want to succeed for you. The pressure that comes with that might make reading more difficult.
That’s okay! Give them plenty of praise and encouragement, and let them know they can take it as slow as they need to.
In the meantime, encourage them to host a special storytime with a stuffed animal or a favorite toy, any item that is guaranteed to make them smile and bring them comfort.
It may take some adjusting, but this strategy will get them confident and calm about reading.
Act It Out
You can make books literally come alive by acting them out. This is a dynamic and exciting way to encourage your child to love reading!
There’s no need to use elaborate props, a stage, or costumes (although, if time allows, your child might love to make a family theatre production!). Simply grab a couple of stuffed animals or toys that can play the part of the characters in the story you’re reading together.
This simple addition can increase the entertainment value for your child and give them a chance to express themselves through the story.
Encourage them to do funny voices and mimic the characters’ actions in the story. Plus, if you incorporate play into your reading, they’ll start to see the connection between the words on the page and the exciting adventure you are having with your imagination.
This is a great way for your child to bring the story to life!
Read Things That Are Not Books
If your child seems uninterested in reading books, divert their attention to other things. Magazines, movie titles, joke books, anything you come across!
For example, try asking your child to be your little helper. Anytime you need to look something up or read something, see if they can give it a go first (with your help if they need it, of course!).
This can be searching up movie times online or having them read a recipe to you out loud while you cook. They could read road signs, check the weather, find restaurant or store hours. They can read emails from family and friends that live in other parts of the world.
For younger kids, try asking them to sound out simple words you come across throughout the day, such as the word “stop” on a stop sign.
Having your child help in this way is all about the little, daily things that fit into your life. And the effect of these small tasks will give your child a huge confidence boost!
Let Your Child Tell Their Own Story
Acting as your child’s reading partner doesn’t have to start and stop with traditional bedtime stories. Letting them tell their own story is a great way to stimulate their imagination and can help with reading, too!
Every now and then, consider swapping after-dinner storytime for storytelling night. Your child can tell you a story while you write it down. Try letting your little one come up with a different scene each day (or, if time allows, all at once).
If they’re old enough, they can also work on the story on their own, drawing pictures to go along with the text or designing a book cover. Once the story is finished, you can read it together!
This is a great way to encourage accomplishment in your child, too. They will have made something of their own creation and can see the imaginative, fun, and personal finished product.
Plus, learning how to tell a story will help immensely with your child’s reading comprehension. They will begin to inherently understand the ebbs and flows of a story as they create their own.
A cute bonus: you’ll have a keepsake to treasure for years to come!
Different Reading Strategies For Different Skills
All of the different skills that go into reading can be a lot for kids (and parents!) to take in. Although learning to read may feel like a distant memory to us, kids are in the thick of grasping everything reading requires.
But what does reading require? And how do the strategies we mentioned help? Here are a few examples of the skills some of these strategies promote.
Rereading Helps With Decoding
Decoding is the process of sounding out words. Children (and adults!) use this skill to break down words that might be unfamiliar to them at first.
Decoding goes beyond understanding what sound each letter makes. Specifically, decoding involves becoming familiar with the relationship between letters and sounds (and their patterns).
The rereading strategy is helpful here because the more times your child sees a word the easier it will become for them to decode it and words like it.
Reading Things That Are Not Books Builds Fluency
Once your child can instantly recognize words on the page (even ones they don’t know), then they are considered fluent!
It’s important to note that there are different levels of fluency. For example, your child may be able to fluently read a first-grade book but not a ninth-grade book. The good news is that fluency grows the more your child reads!
Building fluency is a big end goal for children. We want your child to achieve this goal so they will know that reading can be fun and rewarding. The stronger reader they become the more likely they are to love reading!
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a fluent reader. It may take your child some time and practice to build their confidence and fluency!
In terms of reading strategies, reading things that are not books is one that can help build fluency. After all, the more your child reads the more fluent they will become.
Reading Aloud Helps With Vocabulary
Words, words, words! The more words your child is exposed to the more they will learn. And children who have a good vocabulary are at an advantage when it comes to reading.
A growing vocabulary develops from conversation and from hearing books read aloud. Additionally, children who read a lot learn more new words than those who read less because they get introduced to vocabulary in context.
All of the reading strategies we mentioned can be helpful with expanding vocabulary, but we especially recommend reading aloud and varying the kinds of books you read with your child. This will increase their exposure to all kinds of words!
Letting Your Child Tell Their Own Story Encourages Executive Function
This may sound technical, but executive function is really just an umbrella term that deals with your child’s working memory, attentiveness, and their ability to think about different things one after another.
These things influence your child’s attitude and how they learn. That’s part of why we always encourage reading strategies and materials that create a fun, relaxed learning environment for your little one.
A good strategy for working on this skill would be letting your child tell their own story!
Make Reading Strategies Work For Your Family
Incorporating reading strategies doesn’t need to be difficult, and you can start to feel confident about your child’s improvements when you see the purpose behind these strategies.
No matter what reading strategy you choose — rereading, reading aloud, acting it out, reading things that aren’t books, or letting your child tell their own story — you can achieve at-home learning that fits into your life in a fun and easy way.
And if you’re looking for more resources, our kid-powered, personalized online learning center is the perfect place for your child to get in some safe, fun, and quality reading practice.