Daily reading is critical. Students should read a minimum of 20-30 minutes every day. Of course, the more reading is better!  In learning and remediation stages the majority of this reading time should be guided reading (out loud to an adult or other proficient reader with feedback). As the student’s skills develop, their reading will shift primarily to independent silent reading. Practicing correct reading skills is essential to developing proficiency.

In general the student should read level appropriate material. Obviously, ‘appropriate’ is a relative term and the student’s reading level will change and advance as the student gets older and as their skills advance. The level of material also varies depending if they are reading alone or reading out loud with feedback.

In addition to the formal methods, you can simply listen to your student read and then adjust material to fit. The following simple rule of thumb can be used to help you determine if a book is the appropriate reading level for a particular student at a certain time and situation.

Independent level: This is material the student can read with few errors. If the student is making only a few errors on a page the material is at the independent level. This ‘easy’ or independent level is ideal for silent reading. A good way to check is the “Rule of 5” – Have your child flip to a page in the middle of the book and have them read that page out loud to you. If they are unable to read 5 words or more, that book is too hard for them to read independently.

Instructional level: The learning level material is where the student reads with some errors, challenges and skill building. If the student is making 4 or more errors per page the material is considered instructional level and should be read to an adult as guided reading material. This instructional or learning level is ideal for guided reading so you can help the student develop skills.

Frustration level: This is where the material is ‘too hard’. The student makes frequent errors in every paragraph. The reading level is really too advanced for the student. It is best to avoid frustration level material by finding another book. If frustration level material must be read, it is should be read as guided reading with assistance.

Encouraging your child to read and to foster a love of books is very important to their success. Try to make reading fun instead of a chore. You can make reading a high-interest activity by letting your child select books that interest them, setting aside special time with the family to read, making trips to the library or book store, playing reading games or using reading websites, rewarding good reading, and by not using reading as a punishment for behavior.

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