First of all, congratulations! I know from my own experience that completing the All About Reading program with a child is a huge accomplishment, both for the child and for you. That level 4 certificate represents countless hours of hard work and struggle that you and your child conquered.
But now what? Especially for kids who struggled to learn to read, it doesn’t quite seem right to completely abandon reading instruction after finishing the All About Reading program. The good news is that you’ve already finished the really hard work. Now it’s time to polish and shine your child’s skills as a reader, and these are just the strategies you need to do so.
- Spelling – Continuing with an Orton Gillingham-based spelling program (like All About Spelling) will give your child opportunities to review the phonograms and rules of decoding that we want to reinforce.
- Card Games – After years of learning the rules of reading, you’re no doubt ready for something fresh and fun. These card games from Kendore Learning are just the thing. The card sets in this collection will help you review discerning bossy r’s, hard and soft C and G, and syllable types. The Socrateaser and CaesarPleaser sets work with Greek and Latin patterns, which is perfect for studying morphology (more on that in this post).
Continue Developing Fluency
We want our kids to develop automaticity with reading. That is to say, we want kids to read without difficulty and without that halting cadence that beginning and struggling readers have. We want the reading to be smooth and automatic for the child so that ultimately the child can comprehend the material.
To help develop fluency, choose a passage to have the child read every day until the reading sounds smooth and there aren’t any words the child is still stumbling over. I tell my kids to pretend that they’re recording their passage for an audiobook.
Good sources for fluency passages include:
- Historical texts (ex. sections from The Declaration of Independence)
- Readers theater scripts
Morphology is the study of segments of words – roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Far more effective than teaching lists of unrelated words, teaching morphology expands a child’s vocabulary efficiently. With over 60% of words in English containing word parts from Greek and Latin, being able to recognize and knowing the meaning of those Greek and Latin word parts empowers kids to derive meaning from unfamiliar words. (“I’ve never seen the word centurion, but I can make a good guess because I know that cent means 100.”)
Studying morphology also aids spelling. (“I know that I should spell century with a c and not an s because I know this word means 100 years, and the cent root is spelled with a c.”)
And finally, studying morphology can help kids grow as readers because they will be better able to break long, complex words into familiar parts with familiar sounds.
Curriculums for Learning Vocabulary via Morphology:
Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts (Caesar’s English)
Roots and Fruits
Psst… Don’t forget that the CaesarPleaser and Socrateaser decks from the Kendore Learning card games set are a great way to gamify this learning for more fun and better retention.
Prioritize Reading Time in Your Routine
Build time into each and every school day for your child to read. If your young reader still isn’t feeling confident, it’s a good idea to sit alongside him or her and let him or her read aloud to you, just as he or she read the All About Reading readers aloud to you. If your young reader has found enjoyment in reading and has developed interest in reading on his or her own, it’s okay to let him or her read silently during this time.
Continue Read Alouds
While your child might be ready to take over some of the reading duties in your homeschool day or now enjoys reading alone at bedtime, resist the temptation to completely give up reading aloud.
Kids listen on a higher reading level than they can themselves read at, so even if they are capable of reading on grade level, they still benefit from the greater occurrence of rare words and more complex sentence structures they’ll hear in read alouds written a few years above their own reading level.
Cheers to your advancing reader!