When children know most letters and sounds, know how to sound out some words, have mastered basic sight word vocabulary and have progressed past little stories with repetitive text, then they are now ready to get into what reading is all about. Real reading is all about getting meaning from the written word. Real reading is simply not just stringing sounds and words together. Real reading is all about understanding what is read--which is comprehension, and reading with ease--which is fluency. Here is a great checklist I've compiled with help from my 1st and 2nd grade teacher friends. As you read longer books with children, this list will help children focus on meaning and develop reading strategies.
I Am a Good Reader! Here is What I Do:
I look at the title, author and pictures and think about what I already know about the topic or story. Based on these items, I make predictions about the story.
I take my time. I stop and ask myself questions about the story, and look for answers to the questions. Throughout the story, I guess or predict what will happen next. As I read, I think about how something in the text is like something I already know. If the text doesn't make sense, I reread those parts. I think about what the words really mean. When I come to a new word, I try to figure out what it means. I use the words around it, or read on and use the text to figure it out. I stop at periods and take a breath. I change my voice for questions marks, periods, and quotation marks. I make pictures in my mind of what I am reading. I visualize characters, the setting and the events.
I summarize or retell the important things in the story. I sequence the events. I think about how this story is like another one I have read. I reread books. I practice reading a lot! I may write about the story or write my own version of the story.