5 Ways to Improve Student Reading Skills
Learning how to read and write are two foundational skills that every student must master in order to be successful throughout their academic and professional career. It’s important to foster a love of learning and literacy regardless of why a student many be struggling with learning how to read. There are many different ways to improve reading ability, but here are five simple steps to help students feel more confident in their reading fluency:
Try to encourage students to create mental images of the characters, setting, and plot inside their mind as they read. When students can create a picture of the events that they are reading about, they will not only be more interested in the content, but also be able to remember it more easily.
2. Make connections
There are three types of connections students should be making while reading: text to self, text to text, and text to world. When a student makes a text to self connection, they are relating to an experience, event, place, or person in their own life. A text to text connection is when a student is reminded of another story they have read. Lastly, a text to world connection is a larger connection; It is when the student makes a connection to a historical event or something they have seen on TV, read about in a magazine or newspaper, or heard about from the radio. Making connections helps to improve a student’s reading comprehension as well as make the content more meaningful.
3. Make predictions
Have students anticipate what is going to happen next in a story to help spike their interest level; Nothing is more satisfying for a child than when they’re right and their prediction comes true. Students should always have a stack of sticky notes and a pencil next to them when reading so they can jot down their thoughts, summaries, and predictions as they pop up. It’s much more difficult for a student to go back and try to remember what they read hours or even days later.
4. Read a variety of genres and books
Have students read books that range in level of difficulty. When a student reads a story that is below their reading level, it helps to improve their reading rate and they can focus on intonation and tone. When a student reads a book that is more challenging, it helps to improve their vocabulary. Finally, reading a book on their level can help to improve comprehension skills and will be the most enjoyable experience for the student. To specifically improve student reading fluency, have them read a poem or play out loud.
Just like with any skill in life, the more you practice the better you’ll get. The same is with reading. A study from Ohio State University shows that students who read one book a day know 290,000 more words and have a stronger memory and critical thinking skills by age 5 than those who do not.
By following these five steps, your student(s) will be on their way to improving their reading rate, fluency, and comprehension in no time!