Tips to Help 4th-Graders Read at Their Appropriate Grade Level
Literacy is one of the most important skills students learn in school. However, according to the National Association for Educational Progress, approximately 37 percent of students in the 4th grade are not meeting the requirements for basic reading proficiency. When students are falling behind, it is up to educators to help them catch up. Teachers who work with struggling students can use the following tips to improve their students’ reading abilities and help them meet 4th grade reading levels by the end of the school year.
Assess student readiness
Before a teacher can help students reach 4th grade reading levels, he or she must first understand each student’s current level of reading readiness. Not all students come into the 4th grade prepared for the content they must tackle. Students who have not yet met the reading requirements of previous grades may require remedial instruction before they can join the rest of the class and move forward.
Many students may experience a “4th grade slump” when it comes to literacy. Keeping students interested in reading is one of the best ways to prevent this phenomenon from occurring. Teachers can build students’ enthusiasm by choosing reading materials that relate to their personal lives, or by allowing students to choose their own materials to read. Teachers can also encourage students to become passionate about reading by sharing their own love of literature.
Tackle difficult vocabulary
Teaching new vocabulary is an important part of literacy instruction. However, when students encounter words they do not understand, they may become overwhelmed or discouraged. To prevent this from happening, teachers can discuss challenging vocabulary words at the beginning of a unit or before reading a passage that contains them. Teachers can enhance students understanding of these words by providing definitions, using them in sentences and incorporating them into class activities.
Focus on comprehension
By 4th grade, most students have developed a basic ability to decode the pronunciation of a word based on the letters it contains. Though this is an important skill for any reader, it is not the ultimate goal of literacy. To ensure that students get the most out of the material they read, teachers should not only help them improve their decoding skills, but they should also build on their ability to comprehend meaning from written word. Fourth grade teachers can build comprehension skills by discussing passages with students, teaching them about context clues and leading the class in activities that require students to practice reading comprehension.
Helping all students in a class reach 4th grade reading levels by the end of the school year can be challenging. However, by utilizing these teaching strategies, educators can increase the chances of student success.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- Jeanne S. Chall and Vicki A. Jacobs, "Poor Children's Fourth-Grade Slump"