Should My First Grader Be Reading Well?

Many children enter the first grade either reading very little or not reading at all. However, reading is one of the most fundamental things that is taught in the first grade, and by the end of the first grade year, your first grader should be reading relatively well. This is not to say that she doesn’t still have a lot to learn about reading, or that she will be able to read materials that are difficult or that are extremely long; it does, however, mean that she should be able to recognize a good number of words, to sound out many of the words that she doesn’t recognize, and to read books and other materials that are appropriate to a first grader.

Your first grader will have many opportunities to read, both in small groups and individually. He will also be listening to a teacher, or perhaps even a literacy specialist, read books out loud. He will be starting to understand that reading has many different purposes, such as gaining information, reading for pleasure, or even to find the directions to do something. Your first grader will be exposed to a variety of sorts of materials for reading, including poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. He will experience rhyme and he will experience rhythm. He will learn to figure out who the author of a book is, who the illustrator is, and what the title of the book is.

Towards the beginning of first grade, your first grader will be reviewing her letters and their sounds. She will start learning blended sounds, and begin working on word families. She will begin to learn to break words into separate sounds, and to understand the relationships between letters and sounds. Beginning almost at the first day of first grade, she will start to learn words that are frequently used, sometimes called “high frequency words.”

If you are concerned about your first grader’s reading, or worried that he is not reading well, you should speak with your child’s teacher or the school’s literacy specialist if there is one. If your first grader is behind in reading, there may be things that you can do, as well as programs that are available to help him become a better reader.


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