The early years of reading education are all about how words and phrases come together. Reading skills for primary students are more than being able to discern the words on the page and the meanings of those words. When done early, a child can build on those skills to succeed in other areas of primary education.

Why Reading Skills Are Important

When kids learn to read at an early age, they build a foundation that will help them to read and grasp more complex words and concepts later in their education.

From textbooks to instructions, reading and comprehension is critical to a child’s growth in and out of school. Reviewing a reading skills list can help a child to do well in primary school.

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What Is Reading Comprehension?

Students who understand a text can predict, question and summarize what they have read. To help children with reading comprehension, ask them to tell you about what they have read and what they think will happen next.

Before the child reads the book, ask him to make a prediction about what will happen in the story based on the title. After reading the book, ask the child to tell you what the plot of the story was, who the main characters were and other details.

A Foundation of Fluency

Reading with expression and accuracy at a steady rate showcases the student’s fluency. A child who has phonological awareness and can correctly pause at punctuation and read smoothly without interruptions is considered a fluent reader.

When a child stops at words to sound them out or considers their meaning within the context of the passage, it slows down her comprehension. A child who can read expressively at a good clip is considered to have good fluency.

Word Recognition for Children

Sight words are frequently used in books that a child will encounter and in marketing for toys. Words that cannot be pronounced phonetically can trip up a child.

Sight words are important for a child to know and understand. There is a list of age-appropriate sight words that you can find online. A school will offer handouts at the beginning of each school year or term that children can study with parents or caregivers.

Phonics for the Win

Phonics is the sounds of the letters that make up words. Students learn the sounds that a letter makes along with its name.

When students can pronounce each letter correctly, they learn the sounds with which the letter is associated. Phonics is important for children to isolate each sound in a word and move on to blend the sounds together to make a whole word.

To help a child who is struggling with phonics, focus on the initial sounds of the letter before moving on to consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as bat, wet or cat.

Reading Activities for Primary Students

A few ways to encourage reading is to slip it in with everyday events, such as:

  • Read aloud to them from the products with which they engage every day. At the breakfast table, read the back of the pancake mix, cereal box or other packaged food item you may be serving.

  • Take time at bedtime or after dinner to read aloud to them from a book they select. Get them involved with the subject matter so that they may want to read it themselves. Point out words you think they may know and ask them to help you pronounce them together.

  • During a short drive to school or a long drive to a family member's home or vacation spot, take the opportunity to teach reading to your captive audience. Read the slogans off billboards that the child is more than likely seeing regularly. Spell the words on traffic signs and ask what other words you can make from the signs on your street.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.