What Can I Do to Help My Child Become a Successful Reader?

There are four main strands of reading: Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding Vocabulary. To be successful at reading, students need to have strength in all four areas. I have spent time reading with and assessing your child to find out where he or she falls within these areas.

At this point in time, your child’s reading goal is...


Comprehension refers to understanding what you are reading. It is not only remembering the main idea, but the details that support it. Students who need help with comprehension need to read with an adult and read often. Reading to someone will benefit him or her more if both participants are actively involved in the process.


1) Check for Understanding

2) Back up and Reread

3) Slow Down

4) Make a picture or mental image

5) Compare and contrast

6) Asking Questions

7) Making predictions

8) Recognize cause and effect relationships

9) Using text features (titles, headings, captions, graphic features)


Accuracy is simple being able to read the words. Children who struggle with accuracy will typically also struggle with comprehension because being unable to read the text makes it difficult to understand it! Most children spend so much time decoding words that they cannot enjoy what they are reading, which can cause a negative attitude toward reading in general. Patience is KEY with the accuracy child. Do not rush to give them the word when they do not know it. Encourage them to use the tools they have been taught to help them decode. It’s hard to let go of that control, but it is crucial to helping these children become independent readers.


1) Cross-Checking (Do the pictures and/or words look right? Do they sound right? Do they make sense?)

2) Flip the sound

3) Chunk letters and sounds

4) Stretch and Reread

5) Look for words within words

6) Back up and reread

7) Use the picture

8) Reread


Fluency refers to knowing the words, understanding what is read, and reading in a way that sounds natural and fluid. I usually tell students it’s like reading aloud the same way you would talk to someone. It involves appropriate timing (not too fast...it’s not a race), expression and consistency.

1) Reading good-fit books

2) Voracious reading

3) Adjust reading rates to match text: We describe the different reading rates as shifting gears, like in a car:

-first gear: slowest, used to memorize material

-second gear: slow, used to learn material

-third gear: most of our reading is at this rate

-fourth gear: quickest speed-for skimming and scanning

4) Reread text

5) Attending to punctuation

6) Use appropriate expression

7) Read to your child

Expanding Vocabulary

Expanding Vocabulary refers to increasing the words your child is learning on a daily basis. The expanding vocabulary child is a competent, independent reader with strong fluency and comprehension. These students sometimes get left out because they are already pretty self-sufficient, but we do not want them to stagnate in their reading! We want to challenge them because there is always room to improve.

1) Tune in to interesting words

2) Read voraciously

3) Use dictionaries, thesauruses, and glossaries

4) Using word parts to determine the meaning of words