5 Reading Strategies For Primary Learners

Reading is an essential skill children must learn in order to become successful at school. Why? Because reading is required to understand most other topics. Most of a child’s learning is done from reading the writing on a blackboard or in books, magazines, and workbooks from the teacher. The capability to read is crucial. After all, if a child can’t read those items, how is it possible to answer math, science, or social studies questions? It’s not possible! The better a child can read, the easier it will be for them to learn what they need to in school.

I’d like to share a list of reading strategies that have proven to work on all my children!


1. Focus On Fluency And Phonics Simultaneously

When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking.

Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy.

Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text and their background knowledge. In other words, fluent readers recognize words and comprehend at the same time.

Less fluent readers, however, must focus their attention on figuring out the words, leaving them little attention for understanding the meaning of text.


2. Explicitly Teach And Display Strategies

Explicit teaching is another way of saying effective, meaningful direct teaching. The purpose of explicit teaching modeling is to provide students with a clear, multi-sensory model of a skill or concept. The teacher is the person best equipped to provide such a model. 

Explicitly teaching is developmentally appropriate. Instructions are tailored specifically to students’ learning and attentional needs. This also shares similar goals with other approaches (e.g. constructivist, holistic, or student centered). These goals include teaching students to enjoy and be competent at reading, writing, and math; to understand what they read and how math works, and to apply their skills in meaningful ways.

Additionally, by keeping useful strategies displayed, you allow your students an element of independence.  They can take control of their own reading and help themselves get through tough words or pronunciation issues!

Plus, depending on what strategy posters you decide to use, you can add to the adorable-ness of your room!  Reading strategy posters are so useful to both teachers and kids!  They offer your students purposeful and specific strategies with beautifully illustrated designs!


3. Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers guide learners’ thinking as they fill in and build upon a visual map or diagram. Graphic organizers are some of the most effective visual learning strategies for students and are applied across the curriculum to enhance learning and understanding of subject matter content. 

In a variety of formats dependent upon the task, graphic organizers facilitate students’ learning by helping them identify areas of focus within a broad topic, such as a novel or article. Because they help the learner make connections and structure thinking, students often turn to graphic organizers for writing projects.

In addition to helping students organize their thinking and writing process, graphic organizers can act as instructional tools. Teachers can use graphic organizers to illustrate a student’s knowledge about a topic or section of text showing areas for improvement. 


4. Employ the 3-2-1 Strategy

A 3-2-1 prompt helps students structure their responses to a text, film, or lesson by asking them to describe three takeaways, two questions, and one thing they enjoyed. It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students’ interest in a topic. Sharing 3-2-1 responses is also an effective way to prompt a class discussion or to review material from the previous lesson.

After students engage with a text or a lesson, ask them to list the following details in their journals or on separate paper:

  • Three things that they have learned from this lesson or from this text.
  • Two questions that they still have.
  • One aspect of class or the text that they enjoyed.

Use students’ responses to guide teaching decisions. 3-2-1 responses can help you identify areas of the curriculum that you may need to review again or concepts or activities that hold special interest for students.


5. Decoding: Focus On Problem Sounds

Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before. Although children may sometimes figure out some of these relationships on their own, most children benefit from explicit instruction in this area. Phonics is one approach to reading instruction that teaches students the principles of letter-sound relationships, how to sound out words, and exceptions to the principles.

Children will usually express their frustration and difficulties in a general way, with statements like “I hate reading!” or “This is stupid!”. But if they could, this is how kids might describe how word decoding and phonics difficulties affect their reading:

  • I just seem to get stuck when I try to read a lot of the words in this chapter.
  • Figuring out the words takes so much of my energy, I can’t even think about what it means.
  • I don’t know how to sound out these words.
  • I know my letters and sounds, but I just can’t read words on a page.

With the help of parents and teachers, kids can learn strategies to overcome word decoding and phonics problems that affect their reading!