Seeing a child begin to read is an exciting time as a parent! They may begin to recognize words found in their everyday environments, opening up a whole new world on their learning journey. As exciting as reading can be, it can also come with challenges. It is important to help your child practice reading so they can keep up with their reading level and increase their reading confidence.
As a parent, what should you look for when your child starts reading? According to the National Institute for Literacy, there are skills that your child will be developing that you can watch out for. These skills include:
- Your child begins to learn about punctuation marks and knows where sentences and paragraphs begin and end.
- Your child sounding out words they don’t know.
- Your child reading first-grade books aloud and being aware of when they are understanding a story or are not.
As time goes on, your child’s skills will develop, which you can see on a full checklist that the National Institute for Literacy provides.
Although school is an excellent environment for your child to practice reading, practicing at home is essential for reading development. Book publisher Scholastic recommends children practicing read about 30 minutes a day. Picking up a book is one of the easiest ways to practice reading, but switching it up and practicing in other ways can help your child stay engaged. Here are three ways to practice reading with your first grader.
1. Use a Free Reading App for Kids
You may have heard of Khan Academy particularly for math practice, but Khan Academy has a free app specifically for kids ages two to eight to practice their reading! The app includes videos to watch and interactive activities that practice lots of reading skills. These skills include reading foundational skills, vowel sounds, diagraphs and sound blending, sight words, language, nonfiction stories, and fiction stories.
Duolingo created a free app to help young children read. According to research completed by Duolingo, they found that parents feel “they lack expertise in teaching reading skills and don’t feel like they have enough time to facilitate learning.”
With this feedback in mind, Duolingo created an app that takes your child through a step-by-step reading program designed by learning experts. The reading program helps your child practice reading skills such as phonics, decoding, and comprehension. Your child practices these skills by reading engaging mini-stories and playing mini-games.
2. Reading Games and Activities for First Graders
Education.com has a variety of reading games for your child to play for free. During these games, they can practice vowel sounds, sight words, reading comprehension, and spelling! These games are great if your child is looking for something more interactive and shorter than reading a story or listening to a story.
Creating your own games with your child is a great way to get creative as a family. You can make your own version of games like Concentration, Go Fish, or Monopoly. Not only does your child practice their reading, but they also get a break from screen time and it can be a fun activity for the whole family!
3. Watch Fun Read Along Videos
PBS has a variety of educational videos for children to watch to help them practice reading skills. Their videos focus on fluency, phonemic awareness, phonics, text comprehension, and vocabulary. The videos are short enough to hold your child’s attention and full of essential reading lessons.
If you are looking for something a little less interactive, but still educational, Storyline Online gives a variety of read-aloud stories for your child to listen to (and even read along with if they have the book.) You can browse videos by grade level to find the right match for your child. Each video is accompanied by animation, and some videos are even read by celebrities including Ray Romano and Wanda Sykes.
Live Reading Classes for First Graders
If you want your child to be a part of a fun, interactive, and engaging read-aloud class, join ZipSchool. ZipSchool first grade reading classes encourage the development of essential reading skills such as basic rhyming, word patterns, and sight words. First graders also have a chance to practice reading aloud, expanding their vocabulary, and strengthen their fluency. Learn more about ZipSchool classes here!