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Tips to Encourage Independent Reading in Your Child

written by: Laurie Patsalides • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/7/2012

Get your child excited about reading! Learn how to choose reading books suitable for your child's reading level as well as some activities parents you can do at home to foster independent reading skills.

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    Level Three Readers

    In general, students who are reading at a level three (also known as level C) are becoming transitional readers. In other words, these young readers possess an increased reading ability. They have a deeper understanding of books and can read books that have more sentences. They can self-correct their reading and can make predictions about what the book will be about. They also do not need to rely as much on pictures to read a story.

    In general, level three independent reading books will have the following characteristics:

    • More sight words and vocabulary
    • More sentences
    • More punctuation
    • Less picture support
    • Possibly short chapters
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    Activities to Foster Independent Reading

    At this level, in addition to any skills that should be revisited from level two books whenever necessary, parents should be working on the following skills with their children:

    • Reading smoothly
    • Reading with expression
    • Reading punctuation marks correctly
    • Practicing unfamiliar sight words in the book (these may include, their, where, tomorrow and so on)
    • Help the child to identify characters, and parts of the story (the beginning, middle and end of the story)
    • Story elements (where does the story take place and when, was there a problem in the story and how did it get fixed?)
    • Using vowels correctly
    • Using parts of a word to figure out an unknown word (known as word chunks). For example, in the word, "stand," the student can figure out the word, because he or she can find the word "and" in it.
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    A Variety of Genres

    At this level of reading, parents should provide students with a variety of independent reading books from different genres. Simple poetry, science and social studies books should be added to the student's book collection. Remember to revisit and read some of the easier level books the student has mastered for reading fun and to build confidence.

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