Grade 6 Reading

Discover Grade 6 reading standards

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With your child now at sixth-grade level, they’ll be embarking on an ever-increasing list of challenges. This is an exciting time for them as they push themselves to develop ‘next-level’ skills and at times ‘show off’ what they have learned in previous years. Especially in their reading activities, children will find that they face a variety of new challenges as they begin to explore new words and text types.

Children in sixth grade will begin to increase the amount of non-fiction texts that they are reading. They’ll also see an increased complexity in the texts they're exposed to. This is all designed to push their skills to the next level and provide them invaluable tools that they’ll continue to use throughout their continued education. You can support your child through this process by working on the following key techniques and concepts that they’ll experience within sixth grade.

Word Reading

Children at sixth-grade level will discover a lot of new words as they begin to read more challenging texts. They will need to draw upon some key skills in order to understand what these new words mean. Here are just a few that you can practice with your child:

  1. Using a dictionary and thesaurus to look up an unknown word.
  2. Finding the root of words (such as identifying prefixes and suffixes).
  3. Using sentence context to understand the meaning of a word.

Reading Literature

When reading literature in Grade 6, children need to be able to accurately cite evidence from a text to support their ideas. They will be asked to summarize the plot of a story or explain why a character is behaving in a certain manner. They’ll also be expected to make detailed predictions about what may happen later in the story based on their understanding of the text so far.

At this level, it is important that your child reads a range of books in a variety of genres. It will be tempting for them to select books that they enjoy or are most interested in (which is also to be encouraged), but they should also challenge themselves to step outside of their comfort zone and read a variety of other types of text.

Figures of Speech

There are a range of figures of speech that children will discover when reading at sixth-grade level. They will need to be aware of how to spot these and understand why the author is using them. This will deepen their understanding of the text they are reading.

You can use this short-list to practice some of the most common with your child:

  • ONOMATOPOEIA - Words that sound like their meaning - “whoosh, buzz, whizz”
  • SIMILE - A comparison tool - “She’s as fast as lightning!”
  • IMAGERY - Language that appeals to the senses
  • METAPHOR - A comparison tool (does not use ‘like or as’) - “Life is a rollercoaster.”
  • ALLITERATION - The repetition of consonant sounds - “Penguin Professor”
  • PERSONIFICATION - Giving human qualities to non-human things
  • HYPERBOLE - “I waited for an eternity.”
  • IDIOM - A phrase has been given a meaning different from its literal meaning

Practice Tip: Ask your child to work on the Figurative Language lesson series on to practice these important figures of speech skills.

Evidence and Inference

As children read fiction and non-fiction texts at Grade 6 level, they’ll be asked to find evidence and infer meaning within a passage or chapter. There is a key difference between these two skills. Often, finding evidence can be very obvious to the reader, while inferring meaning can be more subtle.

Examples of finding supporting evidence may include:

  • extracting key statistics
  • highlighting a key piece of research
  • identifying a fact about the subject you’re reading about

Examples of inferring meaning may include:

  • quoting a character from a story and explaining the hidden meaning behind their use of a phrase
  • identifying why a character had a certain feeling and find an excerpt from the story to support this

Research and Gathering Information

When reading informational text, children need to cite evidence to support their conclusions. They need to be able to identify the main idea in a text and summarize it. Understanding the meaning of words and phrases within an informational text is another important skill. You could challenge your child to make a glossary of the important words in an informational text that they have enjoyed recently. This will help them to identify the key ideas from within the text and also help them to keep a record of all the important technical vocabulary that they have learnt from that text.

When researching, children will also need to lean heavily on their active reading skills in order to extract the information that they will need when writing an essay or report at a later date. A few of these useful techniques and skills are summarized below.

Active Reading Skills

Reading at sixth-grade level begins to combine a variety of different skills. These are what we call ‘active reading skills’ and are crucial points of development as children prepare for their higher education. Such skills as research to support essay writing can begin to be developed at this young age.

Here are a few techniques that you can practice together with your child:

  • Note taking
  • Highlighting key words and phrases
  • Using post-it notes
  • Drawing diagrams
  • Making notations in the margins
  • Story plot diagrams

A Variety of Texts

In order to be prepared for life in sixth grade, children should familiarize themselves with a wide range of text types. They should be able to identify the core features and know the purpose of each of the following text types:

  • Stories
  • Poems
  • Biographies
  • Reports
  • Explanations
  • Instructions

How Night Zookeeper can help causes sixth-grade children to utilize all the skills they have gained across Grades 1-6 - from reading instructions, sentences and short passages of text, to testing comprehension skills, to challenging their vocabulary knowledge. These activities can help your child consolidate all their reading learnings and skills across Grades 1-6, and ensure your child is a confident, competent sixth-grade level reader.

Related articles

Grade 6 Writing

Grade 6 Grammar

Grade 6 Spelling

Grade 6 Punctuation

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