One of the questions that parents often ask us is how to help their children transition from the phonetic skills (decoding skills) that they are learning to applicable reading skills.

There are a few critical steps to ensure a smooth transition into fluent reading but the first key to reading success is pre-reading.

Before playing a sport or engaging in other physical activity, it is important to warm up our bodies by preparing them for the upcoming task. Reading is much the same way. We need to warm up our minds to prepare for reading.

The next time a reading assignment comes up, have your child think about what they already know about the topic. Instruct them to recall as much information as they can while thinking of related ideas already learned in the past. It may help to have your child make brief notes about their thoughts and ideas.

One of the easiest strategies of pre-reading is to have your child look through the reading passage to find all unfamiliar words. Once they have been located and written down, ask your student to decode the words and look up the definitions in the dictionary. This is the one of the most important reading strategies that you can teach your child to help them transition decoding skills to solid reading skills. Once students have familiarized themselves with the text, they can then read with a vested interest in what the material is about and with a clear focus on the material.

Dealing with unfamiliar words before jumping into the content, increases the likelihood that your students will be better prepared to comprehend and read fluentlyWith decoding issues and the pressure out of the way, students can really engage with the text, focus on the content, make connections, ask questions, visualize, and understand the material. 

Additionally it is always helpful for readers to know the meaning of important Most Common Words. These words are signals that indicate that important information is on its way. Words such as: after, during, later, first, or soon will mean a chronological sequence. Words like but, yet, and however indicate comparisons; and next and thus for processes.

All of these words, if understood, can help in deciphering text and finding the most important details. The Discover Intensive Phonics method of learning to read works with all words in context, even the Most Common Words, helping to build vocabulary, automatically supporting your student as they transition from decoding skills to full-on reading fluency.

Take advantage of the summer months to help your student move ahead in their reading comprehension and fluency!