The concepts that young readers learn will guide them as they master more complicated texts through the years. These most basic skills are vital to their future success as readers. Unfortunately, many students do not develop a concrete toolbox of strategies when they are young, and fall behind when texts become more sophisticated. In order to succeed in the upper elementary years and beyond, students need to learn vital reading strategies when they are young. The older a student is, the harder it is to mitigate reading issues.
In first grade students need to learn:
Comprehension and Metacognitive Strategies
The point of reading is understanding. Students need to learn to notice when the text does not make sense so they can self-correct their mistakes. Students must learn to reread words and sentences and to use picture and textual clues to understand difficult texts. Without self-correcting strategies, students will often have no idea what they just read.
Basic Story Structure (character, setting, problem, solution)
Students who understand the basic elements of a story have a much easier time understanding why and how events occur in the story–which will in turn help their comprehension of the story. Knowing story structure will also help students’ writing skills immensely.
In order to tackle unfamiliar words students must have solid sound-letter correspondence and be able to blend sounds together. In addition, students must have knowledge of spelling patterns, including silent or “magic” letters and vowel and consonant combinations (ea, th, ch etc.).
Students who have memorized a large vocabulary of high frequency sight words (i.e. that, are, one, the etc.) will be able to read much smoother and faster than those who have not worked on these words at length.
Students who have mastered these concepts by the end of first grade will be well on their way to becoming strong readers in the upper elementary grades! For students who are struggling with these skills, contact us to get started with an individualized plan for literacy development with one of our reading specialists or learning specialists.
By Joanna Brown, Reading Specialist