Reading skills

Skills for Reading

Reading is a skill that can be improved with practice. In this post, we’ll explore some of the skills you might need to become an excellent reader and show you how to acquire those skills. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all students can become proficient readers.

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What is Reading?

Reading is a cognitive ability to decode symbols, letters, and numbers by sight or touch and making meaning from them. Reading skill involves multiple abilities that are taught in primary school over several years.

The ability to read is a complex skill. Reading comprehension involves several different types of processing, such as decoding words and understanding the content of what you just read.

What Are the Basic Reading Skills?

There are 5 basic reading skills that a successful reader should have. They are:

1)  Phonetic Awareness

Phonetic awareness refers to the understanding of spoken words as individual units containing smaller segments. This skill allows you to hear the word’s component sounds and syllables to be helpful in pronunciation, rhyming, and spelling activities.

Children learn this skill (phonetic awareness) through the following activities:

·       Identifying rhymes

This is an excellent activity to help children learn phonetic awareness. You can use songs, books, and poems to find rhyming words. With support, a child will develop strong reading skills with these activities.

·       Identifying syllables in spoken words

It helps children hear how one word can be divided into different parts. This will teach them to break written words into individual sounds and syllables then learn how to read them as whole words.

·       Identifying the first sound in a word

This activity allows young readers to practice their phonemic awareness skills. They learn how to focus on one sound that occurs at the beginning of a word. Once children recognize this sound, they can then determine what other sounds arise in that exact word.

2)  Rapid Automatized Naming

This skill is the ability to name numbers, letters, or words without thinking about the name. It’s helpful in word problems and spelling activities. For example, you could use this skill when writing sentences by knowing how many letters are needed to spell a particular word.

3)  Reading with Expression

These reading skills allow young readers to read with the correct tone and mood that reflect how a word or phrase should be interpreted. It can also help you understand the meaning of unfamiliar words. Teaching children to read with expression improves their pronunciation and comprehension of written material.

4)  Visualization

This skill refers to the ability to picture what the author is describing in your mind’s eye. This helps children understand and analyze literature by visualizing what is happening in each scene. Good readers use visualization when thinking about character traits and moral issues.

5)  Fluency

Fluency refers to the ability to read at a steady pace and with expression. This skill ensures that students reading is smooth, allowing for greater comprehension of text. Word recognition is the key to fluency.

Fluent readers can focus on text content instead of sounding out each word. This allows them to comprehend what they are reading. To be fluent in reading, kids need practice! Teachers can help by providing books that are at their appropriate level. They should not be too difficult, or students will get frustrated.

Other skills include;

1)  Vocabulary Comprehension

Vocabulary comprehension allows a child to understand what they are reading, so it would help to summarize and make predictions about text. To develop this skill, students should read text that has more complex language with appropriate vocabulary.

Children will learn new words through discussion on new topics that they have never heard before. Strong vocabulary also develops when children listen to parents and others use new words in everyday speech.

To ensure that children understand the meaning of vocabulary, you could ask them simple comprehension questions after reading or explain complex terms in context. Fluent readers recognize words quickly because they are familiar with them.

2) Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is an essential skill for any child who is learning to read. When you have phonemic awareness, you can hear and identify the different sounds in words. This is essential for learning to read because you need to know how letters represent different sounds within words. This is a skill that can be taught through explicit instruction.

3) Phonics skills

Phonics teaches young children how to sound out words. The more phonics you know, the easier it is to figure out new words that you see and hear for the first time. There is an extensive list of phonics skills, and teachers often need to break them down into more manageable chunks.

Some Actions to Achieve Fluency in Early Reading

1) Reading Aloud

One way to help kids build fluency is through reading aloud. Stories read aloud one-on-one or with a small group of friends will allow beginning readers to read more often and with expression. Most kids will be familiar with the words and, therefore, more able to read smoothly. Any new word is repeated for clarity, with kids encouraged to follow along.

2) Recite/Chant

Another way to ensure kids read and gain reading fluency is by chanting, reciting, or reading the words together in unison. This helps them gain confidence in their reading. You can do this with any type of text, but it will be especially effective if it comes from a favorite book!

3)  Visual Memory

Visual memory refers to the ability to recall what you have seen. It involves the storage and retrieval of visual images from memory. This skill is essential for reading comprehension because it allows students to construct mental pictures of what they have read or heard.

4)  Speed Reading

Reading faster can help you increase your vocabulary, develop fluency and improve comprehension. It also makes it easier to increase your reading volume if this is important for you. Kids should read and re-read books that are easy enough to read fluently but still challenge them.

5) Spell Words

Spelling words gives young children the ability to understand the sounds that letters and combinations of letters make. Children can use this knowledge to sound out words or simply remember how a word is spelled.

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What Are the Essential Skills Needed for Struggling Readers?

Kids struggle with reading for many different reasons. Teachers need to be aware of the skills that could cause these struggles because it will help them understand what needs to be taught and how they can teach it.

Here is an essential skill that need to be taught;

1) Phonological awareness

This awareness means hearing, separating, understanding, and then connecting ideas to reproduce all of the sounds used in words. It helps children remember word parts (called morphemes) like prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Successful readers will recognize the beginning sounds of words and use this knowledge to begin sounding out new words.

Summary

If you are a teacher, you can use this list of reading skills to help your students. Being aware of the skills needed for struggling readers will make it easier to teach them how to read. 

If you are a parent, you can use these same ideas if you have kids who have trouble learning to read. Knowing what causes reading struggles is the first step in understanding how to overcome them.

If you are struggling with reading, it might be because there are specific skills that you need to learn or practice before you can move on. It might also be because of a learning disability, so it’s essential to have your child checked by an expert to rule out other possibilities.

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