Reading for meaning vs. Reading to Decode

Reading is fundamental to every content area in school. There is a big difference between a child that can read far above grade level, completely understand the story and the child that reads, but has no idea what he/she just read.

Here are some quick checkpoints parents and educators can use when choosing “just right book” for their child.

1. 3 Finger Rule: 

If a child reads more than 3 words wrong on a page, it’s not a good independent book. Choose a different book. Remember: children learn to read through storybooks, ALWAYS let them choose their favorite storybook even if they are reading chapter books.

2. Identifying the Elements in the Story (Answering W&H Questions):

Characters- Identify the main character and supporting characters

Setting- Where does the story take place?

Problem- What is the problem in the story?

Steps to Solution- What steps are taking to solve the problem?

Solution- How is the problem solved?

Main Idea- What is the story mostly about?

3. Writing abou the Story

Not only is it important to talk about a story, but it’s also important to write about a story.

If your child is a great reader, but struggles with comprehension, these are a few things you can take into consideration:

1. Can your child read books fluently and accurately?

2. Check to see if there are any vocabulary, language/ processing issues.

3. Does your child struggle with short-term memory?

4. Is your child rushing through the passage?

Maybe your child needs more time, that’s O.K. too


FUN FACT: I’ve read some articles that suggest children should learn to read by age 7. There is no evidence that early readers out perform their peers in higher grades/tests.


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