How to Help Your Early Learner Become an Independent Reader

How to Help Your Early Learner Become an Independent Reader

So you’ve created a reading-friendly environment at home and have spent years reading aloud to your children—one of the most important things you can do as a parent. And now, your little learner is starting to read on his own. Children who are just beginning to read feel an enormous sense of achievement when they finish a whole book by themselves, which is why it’s important to encourage your children to advance their independent reading ability.

The American Library Association has found a strong connection between daily independent reading habits and student performance. Children who read independently outside of school become better readers by developing vocabulary, reading comprehension and verbal fluency. They also tend to score higher on achievement tests across all subjects.

Follow these tips to encourage your early learner to become an independent reader.

1. Start with short, simple books with large print.

Reading books with fewer words on each page is less intimidating to beginners. The books on the Kumon Recommended Reading List (RRL) in Level 2A have been specifically selected to suit children taking their first steps in reading.

Try: The Chick and the Duckling by Mirra Ginsburg, Level 2A, or Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan, Level 2A

2. Designate a regular reading time.

This will help your children get into the habit of reading regularly, and it will soon become part of their normal daily routine.

3. Let them choose.

Your children will be more motivated to read on their own if they choose books that interest them. Once they gain confidence with the books in Level 2A of the RRL, your children will be ready to try the stories in Levels A and B, most of which still include pictures but have more words.

Try: Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Level AI, or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, Level AII

4. Be on hand to help.

Listen to your children read, give encouragement and help them with difficult words. When they finish a book, ask them questions that will help their comprehension, like “Who was the story about?” and “What was your favorite part?”

5. Don’t stop reading to your child. Your children will enjoy listening to longer books that are a little more difficult. You can even read these books together, taking turns to read a sentence or a page each. In Level C, the RRL introduces longer books, in which the story is told mainly through text and is spread over several chapters.

Try: Frindle by Andrew Clements, Level CII, or McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm by Sid Fleischman, Level CII