It may not seem like there’s much reason to continue “learning to read” once you’ve already learned the basics. Longer words can be difficult to sound out and take more effort to understand, and this can be frustrating. But in actuality, if you read more and take the time to learn about these words, more opportunities (and good stories!) will become available to you. Reading is a way of communicating through language on a page; reading more, and becoming good at it, will not only help you in school, but also ultimately in life. Therefore, reading is something well worth practicing, and it can even be fun to do!
One of the best ways to learn how to read is by figuring out what good readers do while they read. Many readers use things like context clues (the information in a sentence surrounding the problem word) to help them determine meaning. Sometimes visual aids, like Venn diagrams or storyboards, can help clear up the confusion between cause and effect. Asking questions about the topic, whether a simple “What’s their name?” or a more complex “How would I feel if…?”, can help you see the text in a new light. Whether by working as a group, in pairs, or one-on-one with a teacher, sometimes understanding a book means looking at the question in a new way, and these teaching strategies will help you learn how to do that.
Learning doesn’t have to be done in a classroom, or by filling out problems on a worksheet. If you turn learning into a game, as with the ones provided for you below, it can actually help you learn better! School is important, but you can sneak learning into relaxing at home, too. Many reading games will help develop reading comprehension, inference of events, and sounding out or spelling out difficult words. This will actually help your schoolwork to get better, and playing a reading game can be a fun and easy way to get ahead in class.
Reading homework can be tricky – sometimes a sentence just won’t make sense, or you may get stuck on a word that you’ve never heard before. Often, a challenge to homework will be caused by your surroundings. Make sure that there are no distractions during homework time, like music or television, and find a good spot to study where you’ll be comfortable. If possible, work at the same time every night to get into a routine (this will help you concentrate better). It’s also important to be prepared for your homework; keep a dictionary nearby for strange words and have blank paper to sketch out a scene or make a story map. If the problem is understanding the text, or if something doesn’t make sense in a sentence, context clues may be useful, and may help clarify the course of events.
Teaching reading can be just as challenging as learning to read. Thankfully, there are many websites that offer pre-made lesson plans and instructive guides on writing a lesson plan if a teacher prefers to design their own. A good lesson plan will take into account the size and average age of the class, what the class’s prior knowledge is, and what there is left for students to learn about. Reading lesson plans, especially for elementary students, should be fun and offer a good creative outlet to the children, and should allow them opportunity to practice the skills or knowledge learned. There is no concrete “right” way to create a lesson plan, so educators can tailor them to fit their specific teaching style.