Reading is an essential skill for everyone. By the end of 1st class most children should be able to recognise the majority of Dolch Word lists (download here) and read short stories, retell them and answer questions based on the story. A key skill which a lot of children need to practice is expression. Often a child can read the story accurately but they sound like a robot. Some children are unaware that they are even doing this.

Some strategies I have tried which have worked well;

  • Record the child and play it back to them (Dictaphones available from Argos
  • Record the child and then yourself
  • Echo reading (You read a line with expression, the child reads the line with expression)
  • Study the punctuation that the author uses. (! – WOW! ? – asking a question.)
  • Study the words used to describe how someone is speaking. (cried, shouted, laughed etc).
  • Study the pictures – how does this person feel? How would they say that?
  • Robot button (Explain to the child that they need to use more expression – sometimes when we know all the words we forget to add expression – therefore once the ‘robot button’ is tipped – the child must add expression.