Education Tips for Parents

Reading Tips

Students in grades K- 2 are learning to read.  Students in grades 3- 5 are reading to learn.  What is the difference? 

Second grade is a transition time in your child's reading abilities.  Phonics and word patterns become more ingrained in their "automatic" skills and they begin to process more new vocabulary - learning what words mean and how to use those words correctly.

Then, usually in third grade, students do more and more reading to learn information.  They need all the skills to come together to apply what they have learned on the STAAR test in the spring. Reading is tested in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.

The reading skills expected are not just fact recalling and putting things in order.  We practice higher level thinking every day.  In all grade levels students are asked to read a paragraph or a passage and be able to:  establish a purpose for reading, make inferences about the text, make text connections, summarize, interpret text to understand it at a higher level.

The more your child reads, the better he or she will do in school.  When you read to your child, ask questions to make sure their comprehension is high.  And, have your child read to you so you can hear their fluency. 

Encourage reading every night!!

Think Fluency!

Fluency expectations are different for every grade level. Fluency is a combination of things. It is how many words per minute your child can read, but it is also the expression and understanding your child has while reading out loud. It isn't the goal to be a "fast reader." You need to understand what you read and read with expression.

Beginning 1st grade students may or may not read at all. Many are still decoding (sounding out) many of the words they read. A fluency score will not be taken for 1st grade for several weeks.

Beginning Second grade students should be reading around 60 words per minute (wpm).

Third grade students on average read around 90 wpm.

Fourth and Fifth grade students will read from 120 - 150 wpm.

All children are different. These are average scores. If your child is faster or slower than this, don't worry. Just keep reading with your child every night!

Text Connections

Students are asked to think while they read and make connections to deepen their understanding. Sometimes they are asked to think about a "Text to Text" connection. They may compare or contrast two paragraphs or passages.

Other times they may make a "Text to Self" connection and think about how their own lives are similar or different than a passage.

The third type of connection is "Text to World." Students would examine how the story fits into the world around them and their understanding of it.

If your child is reading and says, "Oh, this reminds me of..." then they are making connections. This is a deeper and more meaningful connection to literature than just "reading to pass a test." Encourage those deep connections. The more your child thinks about what they read, the better a reader they will be!

Younger Readers may like

Bailey School kids
Magic School Bus series
Steven Kellog books
Berenstein Bears series
Magic Tree House books
A to Z mysteries

Older Readers may like

American Girls series
Boxcar Children
Harry Potter series
The Giver
Margaret Haddix books
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
My Side of the Mountain


E-mail our Instructional Coack, Mrs. Dethloff at