Elementary Reading

Improve your child's reading skills

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Reading is a fundamental life skill, and we're here to help you support your young learner as they embark on this challenging, yet exciting journey! Building elementary reading skills will help your child form a strong English language arts foundation and ease their path to academic success.

This section of our website explains all you need to know about the reading standards expected of elementary students at different grade levels, and how you can help your child attain them. Whether your child is a struggling reader or not, you’ll find reading activities that will keep your child engaged and interested in working on their reading skills. Keep reading for more information about elementary reading, or select your child’s grade level above to start learning!

Three children reading a book together.

What is elementary reading?

Reading at elementary school level is all about developing your child's ability to read fluently. In early elementary school, children learn how to make sense of the alphabet in written and verbal forms by practicing simple reading exercises, such as read-alouds. As they move on to third grade and fourth grade, they learn more about decoding, and how to understand meaning behind what is written. In fifth grade and sixth grade, learners will further strengthen their reading skills by consistently applying techniques they’ve learned in previous grades.

What are the 5 basic reading skills?

At elementary school level, there are five main reading skills children will develop:

  • Reading comprehension - understanding the meaning of a written text
  • Phonemic awareness - being able to identify phonemes
  • Vocabulary - words that children recognise and understand
  • Phonics - matching sounds to letters or words
  • Fluency - general ability to read

This guide runs through first grade to sixth grade, identifying the key focuses of the reading curriculum and providing effective ways to develop the skills listed above. Reading strategies, practice tips, and step-by-step reading instructions are included to provide ways that you can help your child achieve their goals in each of the key areas for their reading level.

By what grade should a child be reading?

Typically, children should be able to read short stories and other texts by the end of first grade/beginning of second grade. Nonetheless, every child is unique and learns at their own pace, so it’s completely normal if your child takes slightly longer to develop their reading skills. Keep in mind that literacy skills are crucial for your child’s later academic success and professional development, so be sure not to rush the reading process - gaining the necessary skills is the most important thing!

How do you teach elementary reading?

There are many ways to successfully teach reading at elementary level, but it can be a challenging task to achieve on your own!

Our language arts program for kids includes thousands of research-based elementary reading activities to level up your child’s skills in a fantastically fun way! It uses gamification to teach language arts, which keeps children engaged, focused, and entertained as they develop their skills.

Our award-winning content has been created by experienced educators, and includes everything learners need to develop their literacy skills, from word games about phonemic awareness, to interactive lessons about reading comprehension, to vocabulary challenges.

Lessons, challenges, and games available on Nightzookeeper.com.

Night Zookeeper is a fully adjustable education program, which means that you can adapt the content your child has access to based on grade level, age, or current learning ability! You can also decide the type of content your child has access to, to ensure that they get exactly what they need out of the program. For example, you can search for specific assignments that target reading if you’d like your child to focus on that! For more information on the program features, please visit our user guide.

These features also help to make our program very inclusive and accessible for as many learners as possible. Night Zookeeper has been proven to work well for SEN schooling, including many success stories from children with dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, amongst many other special educational needs (SEN).

About the guide

This reading guide is here to help you throughout each school year, as your child progresses through different topics and the content becomes more challenging. Our aim is to provide a strong outline of how to equip your child with a firm grasp of the reading foundations covered across primary/elementary school and early-middle school.

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