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10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast

It can be challenging for young readers to read at the right pace. Some kids read too slowly, while others read too fast.

Reading too fast may seem like a somewhat unlikely problem. Having a child who reads too slowly can throw up obvious red flags, but parents and teachers aren’t always as concerned when a child reads too quickly.

There are some definite problems with reading too fast, though.

Kids Who Reads Too Fast--a few problems they face

Children who read too quickly tend to think that “good readers are fast readers.” Listen to the example in the video below. What do you think—does this sound like good reading to you?

As you can imagine, it’s important for students like this to slow down so they can read accurately and comprehend the text. So let’s move on to the solutions!

Download my FREE Quick Guide: “10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast”.

10 Ways to Help a Child Who Reads Too Quickly

  1. Explain that reading should be at the same pace as regular talking—not too fast and not too slow.
  2. Read a paragraph aloud to her twice and ask her to tell you which one is easier to understand. The first time, read it extremely fast with no expression and without stopping at punctuation. The second time, read with meaningful expression at a normal, understandable pace. Can she hear the difference? Was one easier for her to understand?
  3. Acknowledge that she’s a good reader and can read very fast, but that you want her to slow down when she reads because you want to understand the words she is saying.
  4. Record your student reading at a fast pace and then at a regular pace. She can listen to the recordings to hear the difference.
  5. Instead of asking your student to point to each word, try having her use a piece of paper as a guide under the line she is currently reading. See if the physical reminder of a piece of paper—and the act of having to move it as she reads—helps her slow down.
  6. You could have a code phrase to remind her to slow down, such as “speedy bunny.”
Some children read quick like a bunny.
  1. Read a page to her at a normal pace, and then have her read it at her fast speed. See if she can hear the difference. Then read the next page to her, and have her match your reading pace.
  2. If your child ignores punctuation, teach her to pinch her fingers together when she hits punctuation at the end of sentences. This is a good kinesthetic reminder to slow down for punctuation.
  3. You can also try assigning a shorter amount of reading. Start with whatever amount she can cheerfully read at a good pace—then end there. Praise her for reading at an understandable pace or with expression, or for any part of her reading that went well. It may be that she looks at the length of reading and just wants it to be over fast, so focusing on a shorter passage done with expression will reinforce the right habits.
  4. Try buddy reading. By taking turns reading each page of a story, you have the opportunity to demonstrate proper pacing for your child to emulate.

Remember that child who reads too fast? Listen to what a difference it makes when that same child slows down to a normal pace.

How about you? Does your child read too fast? Have you discovered any helpful tips?

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Leave a Comment

good suggestions. Thank you!

Melissa

says:

Nice article.

stacey

says:

my oldest had this problem when she was younger. I had her read out-loud because it made her slow down

Judy Dickson

says:

I like the pinch your fingers together when you come to a period idea! I bet that will really help.

Tammi

says:

I haven’t read the Green Ember. I would love to win a copy for my daughter.

jodee wilch

says:

Thank you for your suggestions. Incorporating these 10 ways will also help to break up the often monotonous reading routine.

CS

says:

Thank you so much! I have a child who speed reads. This is really helpful.

Tara S.

says:

This is a helpful article. Also looking forward to reading The Green Ember series!

Malisa

says:

Excellent information! I really appreciate it.

Hedwig

says:

Excellent advise. I am in love with the coding and the recording of the child while he is read. Keep up with your good ideas, it help USA lot.

lisa jung

says:

My son had this problem as a child. His reading teacher caught it and explained it to me so I could help at home. Iam proud to say -hes a Senior this year and scores well above other in Reading/Comprehension testing. Thanks for the great post.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
I’m happy to hear you were able to help your son overcome his comprehension problems related to reading too fast!

Nancy

says:

I love the idea of a code phrase!

Kasien

says:

My daughter is almost 14 and has always read quickly. She reads normally out loud now (she did not when she was four – she raced) but she gobbles up books that she reads on her own. In fourth grade, her teacher accused her of lying because she said she had already read a chapter that other kids were still reading. So…we did a “test” with her at home. We read a designated number of pages of the same book. She finished more quickly than her parents. Then we asked her all kinds of questions – including details, like a recipe they mentioned in the text, which character said this or that, what color shirt was Joe wearing. She recalled everything easily.
She really does read that fast, and she retains what she reads. She absolutely LOVES to read. I often have wondered if her fast reading is a problem, and I wish she would slow down and savor good writing but maybe some day when she gets her hands on something beautiful, she will. She loves poetry too, so I have hope.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kasien,
What we are trying to address in this blog post is how to help students for whom reading fast is a problem. However, reading fast is not a problem for some people. Some readers can read at a remarkable pace and have as high or higher comprehension than slower readers. Some fast readers like your daughter can comprehend fully without having to hear the words in their minds when they read silently. Other fast readers lose some, or at times a lot, of the details of the book because of their reading speed.

However, I caution her about poetry. Poetry is written for the sound of language as much as the meaning. It must be heard, either aloud or in the mind, which requires reading at the pace of normal speech.

Katie

says:

Thank you!!

Julie

says:

Excellent advice

Sharon

says:

I like the idea of recording their reading and playing it back for them to hear. My son did this and started using different voices for the different characters, which helped him to slow down and pronounce each word more carefully.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sharon,
I love listening to children reading with voices for each character! It does matter if the child is 6 or 14, I think it is one of the cutest things ever.

Brenda

says:

I like your suggestion for when my child doesn’t observe punctuation.

Candice

says:

A couple of thoughts….instead of a marker, have children glide their finger under the sentence as they read…this helps with pace and keeping focused. Also, many who read fast, don’t work on phrasing…work on phrasing..where is there a breath, etc. This will help with expression, comprehension and appropriate rate.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Candice! You bring up an excellent point about developing phrasing in your student’s reading. We discuss how to work on phrasing in detail in this blog post on How to Develop Fluency. The post deals mostly with the slow, having to sound out every word, reading. However, the work on phrasing applies to all reading. One of my students read neither fast nor slow, but his reading was so monotone that he had very poor comprehension. Working with him on expression and phrasing made huge impacts on his comprehension.

Holly Beaty

says:

Hi robin — I’ve posted a list of different characters’ voices on the white board (alien, giant, bee, duck, queen, ‘tin-man,’ British, rapper) and let my students choose a voice they’d like to use when reading aloud. Sometimes they will sing part of a text (e.g. in the style of a rapper or opera singer). These strategies help the “too fast” readers slow down in order pay attention to the words and punctuation marks in a text. I might decide to be the “conductor” during choral reading and ask the students to raise their voices when my fingers sweep up and lower them as my fingers scoop down. This is a good way to get them to practice fluency.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Holly,
This is such a fun and wonderful idea! What a great way to encourage attentive reading. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Doris

says:

You material is always very helpful. How can I get more information about the “syllable rule”

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Doris,
I am unsure which syllable rule you are referring to. All About Reading and All About Spelling teach six different syllable types and eight rules for dividing syllables. These are covered slowly, adding a bit more with each level, to ensure students have mastered each syllable type and division rule before adding another.

Is this the sort of thing you want to know more about, or is it something else?

Sheila Avila

says:

I especially like tip number 8 for children who ignore punctuation. Having them pinch them fingers together when they hit a punctuation mark, is a great kinesthetic reminder to slow down for punctuation. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheila,
It is a great reminder. However, if you have a younger child who would enjoy the idea, you could make a little stop sign and have the child hold it up every time she comes across punctuation. A mom shared this idea with us and her daughter had so much fun with it.

Pat Minton

says:

I have rarely come across a child who reads too fast so they do not understand! I read very quickly indeed and always have done so from the time I was 5 and I am extremely grateful for this because I have always had time to read several books on a topic so I have done well in exams, taking down notes from a board etc etc. As I missed a lot of schooling when I was older my fast reading stood me in good stead because I could read all my books and notes quickly so I wasn’t so behind!! I never had any difficulty with comprehension, In fact, in some ways it was easier because the whole story/topic was read completely in one go.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Pat,
There are many students who can read quickly and still have great comprehension. However, many students are unable to read faster than a normal speaking speed without losing some comprehension. I am not speaking only of young or struggling readers here. I know many academically advanced high schoolers, college students, and college graduates that must read slowly in order to fully understand the material, especially difficult and complex material. I have noticed that these people tend to be more auditory in nature, and even when they read silently they still “hear” every word in their mind. Faster readers that still have good comprehension, however, I have noticed are more visual and they do not “hear” the words in their mind when they read.

I have had experience with many students reading so fast that they could barely understand what they read. It is a problem for many children’s comprehension and can become a hard habit to break.

Holly Beaty

says:

I am a reading specialist who works with small groups of Tier 2 second graders. Many of my students believe that reading as fast as possible means they are better at reading than those who read at a slower pace. The concept of comprehension does not occur to them, even when they are reminded that the purpose of reading is to understand and to remember the content of a paragraph or a page of text. I believe part of the problem with beginning and emerging young readers who read too quickly is that the classroom teachers, particularly in first and second grade, do not regularly emphasize how important it is to read at a slower pace. Nor do they recognize that reading too fast quickly becomes a habit that is hard to break. As a result, the myth that “faster readers are better readers” continues to flourish in the early years of learning how to read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Holly,
Thank you for your great insight. You bring up some wonderful points here. I also think that students get the idea that good reading is fast reading because there is so much praise for how quickly a student can finish a book, “You read that whole thing in one day? Wow!” While such praise is well meaning, it never considers how much, or how little, the student understood what he or she read. A slower reader with full comprehension will get so much more from reading than a faster reader that barely understood what the book was about.

Melissa C. Orruego

says:

My son tries to read to fast. He leaves out words and inserts words. Thank you for these tips.

Stacy

says:

What great tips. Excited to put them to use with my kids :)

Dee Anne Ruiz

says:

I completely understand the need for it. What a help. Thanks.

Jamie

says:

Thank you for these practical tips. Many of them would have never dawned on me as I teach my kids.

Rebecca

says:

Buddy reading is utilized a lot in our home.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecca,
It’s a great help, isn’t it? Buddy reading has made the difficult process of learning to read fluently and well much more enjoyable for my daughter.

Victoria

says:

As always, excellent and worthwhile articles to read!

Nicole Antunes

says:

My 4 year old daughter is an emerging reader. She is almost done with the Beginning AAR program and has picked up reading really fast. She gets super excited when she’s reading so I made a mini stop sign out of a popcicle stick and told her to hold it up everytime she gets to a period. This has worked great for her. She now lives to Stop at periods! Thank you for all of your great tips!

Nicole

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nicole,
I love your stop sign idea! It would work well too for kids that tend to stop mid-sentence instead of at the end. Thank you for sharing this.

Jessica H.

says:

We love AAR and all the amazing advice on the blog!

Lisa

says:

Thank you. These are great tips for when my little one begins to read on her own. Also will work out great for my nephew. He reads too fast sometimes.

Natasha

says:

Good tips!

Brooke

says:

My child has struggled with this, as well as word guessing. They are getting much better, but she still needs reminding sometimes.

Tiffany Hudson

says:

Wonderful tips. Recording them reading and playing it back for them is a great idea.

Margarita Diaz

says:

This is very helpful. My son started to read and loves it but sometimes doesn’t want to sound it out and throws a random word in or a few. I love these tips. Hopefully one day I can try AAR.

Hannah

says:

Excited to start AAR with my son this year!

Rebekah Garrison

says:

AAR has been a huge blessing. It would be wonderful to win a free levea so we can keep going!

Kristina M

says:

Great insight! Thank you!

We find ourselves child will skip words or even sentences when rushing. If I slow them down they read it clearly and ore accurate.

Heather

says:

Thank you. My son occasionally does this. I don’t want it to become a habit.

Denise

says:

Wonderful tips! Keep them coming!

Ashley Hosford

says:

Thank you for the helpful tips! I will work with my son with these. We love AAR!

Serena

says:

Just finished our first year with AAR and we love it!! Looking forward to doing another year with your program!

Amber Gleaves

says:

We run into this from time to time but our comprehension issues happen when the reading becoming too choppy

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amber,
Yes. Anything that disrupts smooth, expressive reading can interfere with comprehension. One way to build your child’s ability to read smoothly and fluently is to have him or her reread a story two or three days in a row. By the second or third day he or she will be able to read the story well, and the additional practice builds fluency for the next new story too.

Naomi

says:

We are working on this right now. If I tell her to read it like she’s excited about it, that tends to make her enunciate more in general and emphasize important words instead of the mumbling and skipping around.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sounds like you found a way to have your daughter read well, Naomi. I would anticipate that if you ask enough and praise her when she does it, that the time will come when she just naturally reads that way.

Jessica

says:

I have a 10 year old deaf son who uses cochlear implants. He was implanted at 7. So, teaching him to read using phoincs was not an option in the begining since he did not have access to sound. I’ve always read to him using voice and sign language. He has learned to read by sight. He is reading fairly well but after reading this article he is definitely a speed reader but gets extremely frustrated when I stop him to slow him down. He is also struggling with reading comprehension. Now that he has implants he has access to most sounds and spoken English. We read aloud together with his brother who is in 3rd grade by each reading one page of a chapter book. Do you have any tips or advice teaching deaf children to read? I don’t feel like he can comprehend what he reads if he reads by himself. He can figure out how to read words very well but I would not say he can decode.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Although AAR has been used to help many severely struggling readers (even adults), we don’t have a lot of feedback on your specific situation. We know of another mom using All About Spelling for a child who has cochlear implants (which gives him some access to sound, though limited), and we also have a deaf staff member. (She had no hearing until age 11, and then got cochlear implants which gave her partial hearing).

The mom using AAS mentioned that they use a total communication approach because his implant has not been as successful as most are. In their case, our program tied in well with their speech work.

Her son found the rules very helpful. Before, he could memorize ten words for spelling, but would forget them. The rules gave her son a framework and the sound cards gave them the daily listening practice that he needed; he would also lip read. She didn’t worry so much about him getting the correct pronunciation on sounds, because that is hard for him. She would take good efforts there and work on getting them better. In his case, he did not yet have the auditory memory to say the word to himself and then spell it, so the mom would model the word and then he would spell it.

For learning the sounds, lip-reading helped some, but the short vowel sounds are hard to hear and not so easy to see, as well as the r-controlled sounds. So, in the beginning, the mom used a book called Tucker Signing Strategies for Readers by Bethanie H. Tucker that has signs for the phonetic sounds. Here is the website, http://www.tuckersigns.com, that you might check out. The mom also incorporates some right-brain visual approaches.

Our deaf staff member made a very interesting observation. She said that phonics is a deaf person’s dream. It eliminates the pressure of having to hear. For example, AAR and AAS teach the syllable rules. These tell her that if she sees an open syllable (the syllable doesn’t end in a consonant) the vowel in that syllable is usually long. If it’s closed, the vowel is going to be short. This basic rule applies to many words, and means that she doesn’t have to hear a word anymore to know how it’s pronounced. She only has to see it on paper. In this way, phonics is going to play to a deaf child’s biggest asset, his sight.

With our spelling program, you demonstrate the words first, and then let the student try them. So, they have the opportunity to learn the rule, visually see how it applies to the word, and work with it kinesthetically as they apply the division and label the syllables. This can help reinforce their hearing/lip-reading of the word, and gives them additional strategies for remembering how to spell it.

With lip-reading, our staff member couldn’t always tell the vowel sound, except by understanding the context of what was spoken, even though she knew of the concept of the different sounds before she had her implant. So this kind of rule would have made a difference to her learning-to-read experience.

Reading comprehension can be caused to a number of issues, with reading too fast being one of them. The others are:
– Fluency issues. Students can figure out what they read but can’t read it fluently. If they are focusing on the work of reading, they won’t be able to focus on understanding what they read.

Word guessing issues. Students rely on word-guessing strategies, and incorrect guesses lead to a lack of comprehension. Some may also skip small words.

– Reading too fast. Sometimes this is the opposite of fluency issues (but not always). Students think that a “good reader” reads very quickly. Students who do this tend not to have time to think about the meaning of text.

– Vocabulary issues. Students may have the skills to sound out and read words that they don’t know the meaning of yet. This can happen especially with young, advanced readers. For example, think of a simple word like “milkman.” How many 21st century kids would have any idea what a milkman is?!

– Lack of life experience. They can’t relate to what they are reading, again usually because of young age. A 10 or 11 year old may be able to read Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer (it’s listed as a 5th to 6th grade reading level), but huge parts of the book uses driving a car as a metaphor about life. Without the experience of actually driving, much of the book goes over the reader’s head.

Often the first time to solving comprehension issues is requiring the student to read aloud daily from a book they feel comfortable reading (even if it’s “easy”). When they read aloud to you you can more easily discern exactly what the problem is, and provide both immediate and ongoing help. Over time, the Matthew Effect leads to reading becoming easier and easier reading means students want to do it more.

Sorry this is so long, but I hope you can find some help in here. Let us know if we can help further.

Mia

says:

Thank you for your great tips. I have two sons who both have reading and comprehension problems. My older son who is in 4th grade, reads well, but too fast. He does not stop at punctuation marks and races through the words. As expected, he does not remember what he just read. My second son is in first grade. His reading has improved but he is still not fluent. We read 30 minutes a day, chorally at times. Can you give me tips on how to help my boys in each of their issues?

Thank you kindly.

Mia

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Mia,
Reading for 30 minutes is a long time for a 1st grader. We recommend just 20 minutes a day. By choral reading, I think you mean what we call buddy reading. This is a very useful technique for helping to build a child’s fluency and stamina.

For your 4th grader, the tips outlined above can be very effective, especially recording him so he can hear himself read. Also, do you read aloud to your children regularly? When you read aloud to them, you are modeling what good reading should sound like. You may ask your son to read like you do, with expression. If you are not reading aloud to your sons regularly, please consider doing so.

My son was struggling with monotone, expressionless reading last summer, and it was effecting his comprehension. For a while I simply had him read aloud to me daily, and I would stop him and ask him to reread portions so he could “read the punctuation” and add expression. It helped his comprehension, and over time it helped him to begin to enjoy reading. You might try something similar with your son.

Maya

says:

Thank you for these tips. My child is not a super fast reader, but skips punctuation. I usually tell him to take a breath at the end of each sentence. “Breathe at every full stop.” It helps, but I will have your suggestions in mind, if the issue appears again. I think some children read too fast, when they cannot actually read very well. It is as if they try to get done faster, instead of slow down and work harder to decode the words.

Maya,
You are correct. Some children do try to read fast to either just get done with reading, or to hide the fact that they aren’t strong in it.

Reading with full expression, which is in a large part reading the punctuation, is an additional issue as well. It is very difficult, even for the person doing the reading, to get meaning if a passage is read in a monotone way that skips punctuation, especially ends of sentences. Reading aloud to your child with good expression is enough to teach it for some children, but some need explicit instruction and regular practice in order to get it.

Thank you for commenting. I hope you have a lovely week.

Donna

says:

Thank you for this article. I definitely have a fast reader. It also seems as though its boys that are doing the “speed reading”. As if they are in a race car. I will definitely try the suggestions. Thanks!!!

Merry at AALP

says:

Ha! A race car is a great comparison! I hope the suggestions help.

Heather

says:

Yup, I’ve got a fast reader. She will skip words or mumble through words she doesn’t know.

Jen

says:

i want to try all about reading

Katy

says:

great post. I have a fast reader. She often skips a word or adds one.

Lacey

says:

Good insight here! Thanks!

Becky

says:

These suggestions are great! My 7 year old is often rushing through just about everything including reading, it gets frustrating for both of us. I’m glad I found this post!

Shannon

says:

These suggestions are exactly what I needed to hear. I will put these into action with my son on Monday.

Merry at AALP

says:

I hope it helps, Shannon! Feel free to email if you have additional questions: support@allaboutlearningpress.com

Leah

says:

I have a child who is now 14 who has always been a fast reader. Her comprehension was great and her pace was great, so we didn’t worry about it. Now, I have trouble getting her to write and I think the two are connected. She doesn’t take the time to truly process the information (even though she understands what she is reading.) If you can get yours to slooow down at a young age, you should do it ;-)

Renae

says:

this was a good reminder for me not to read to fast. also, to be on the lookout for when my son can read.

jmama

says:

we have implemented some of these with my 7 year old. thanks for the suggestions of some other things to try if this issue rears its head again

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome! If the issue of reading too fast ever rears its ugly head again, I hope these tips help!

Katherine

says:

My son reads like lightning. I’m going to try some of these. Thanks!

Katherine

says:

These are great tips!

Becky

says:

I am a second grade teacher, and I love reading your suggestions. They help me immensely in my classroom! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.

Sonja Rea

says:

Thank you for the suggestions. I have three readers on different levels and one pre-reader. I am considering this reading program along with the spelling. Looks like two great programs!

Amy

says:

Though my son doesn’t necessarily read too fast, he has some strange habits when he reads out loud and I wondered if you could weigh in. Like too-fast readers, he often skips words and inserts words that aren’t there, almost like he takes a glance at the sentence and makes an assumption about what it says. He also inserts strange humming sounds in between words and often takes a breath mid-word. Sometimes even mid-syllable. It’s really hard to describe without having someone observe him…but I was just wondering if you have any ideas.

Merry at AALP

says:

Many children do just that–they make assumptions about what a sentence says without reading all of the words. Some kids find it more intuitive to guess–they may be great at guessing based on comprehension skills, or from word shapes, first or last letters in words, and so on.

If you think his main struggle is with word-guessing, check out this article on how to break the word-guessing habit: http://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/break-the-word-guessing-habit/

Skipping small words is not unheard of (sometimes adults do this too). This often happens with high frequency, small “function words” such as a, the, an, etc… because these are words we can’t really picture. Misreading these words often doesn’t change the meaning of a sentence (and when my older kids missed occasional short words but the meaning of the sentence stayed the same, I didn’t usually address it. I did address it if the meaning of a sentence was changed, if I felt they needed to slow down, if they missed a lot of words, and when they were still beginning readers.)

Skipping small words can happen because we can read more quickly than we can speak, or because of the way we read in phrases. It can also happen if a child is trying to read too fast and just needs to slow down. (When that’s the case, have the student point to each word–not just draw the finger quickly underneath, but point to and read each word. When he’s beyond the habit of skipping words, you can discontinue this.)

But sometimes it can mean that a student needs more work. If you point to the word and he struggles to read it, that’s one sign he needs more work.

Another sign a child needs more work is if he struggles with comprehension after reading.

The humming sounds and strange breathing seem like things someone would do if they were stopping to think about a word or about meaning. It could be that he made a guess and then something made him realize it wasn’t correct, so he’s stopping to try to figure out what he should be reading. He may not even realize he’s doing these things. I’d let him work through the sentence as he needs to, and then if he doesn’t catch his errors, have him try those words again. Then, sometimes you can have him practice reading for expression with a sentence or paragraph he has already read once–I’ll bet he doesn’t have the same sounds/breathing issues when he is more familiar with the passage.

I have several students in my resource room who read so very fast. They miss the words because they see the beginning but miss the ending. They say an entirely different word than what is on the page. I have started using a piece of construction paper to make them see only one line at a time. They tell me that they must read fast as they are trying to beat their time as on our state tests they have to go faster.

Merry at AALP

says:

Hi Chris,

Good for you! I would try a couple of things:

1, Make sure they aren’t trying to read *faster* than required for the state tests.

2, use Marie’s example in her response comment to Alisa below where she says, “great readers have different reading speeds for different types of reading material.” You could explain that their “fastest” reading for the tests is not the same as everyday reading. [I’ve seen two types of timed tests–if the one they are working towards is mainly about decoding speed, explain that the tests want to see how fast they can physically read the words (decoding), but that we then need to choose a comfortable speed for understanding (comprehension).]

3, Are teachers, administrators, school board aware of the problem it’s creating? If not, it may be worthwhile to start some discussions on the matter. Maybe together you can brainstorm ways to help kids become more fluent (and therefore faster) in their reading without losing the comprehension.

Lisa

says:

My daughter’s school MAKES her read fast. The homework for the week always contains a timed reading. I know this is why she has a hard time with comprehension. The school has timed reading tests also. It is like they are setting up our children for failure.

Lisa, that must be so frustrating for you and your daughter. Please take a look at Merry’s answer to Chris, just above your comment here. She has three ideas that may help you address this problem. I hope this helps!

alisa

says:

My question is not about reading aloud – it is about silent/ personal reading too fast. I was sitting next to my daughter (7) this morning as she was reading silently. I noticed that she reads or skims the pages so fast that I couldn’t keep up with her turning the pages of the book. She reads at least three novels a day and loves books, is an excellent writer and comprehends amazingly for her age. I also read aloud to her daily. Is her skim reading books on her own a problem? How can I get her to slow down and really engage in the characters and the text while she reads alone?

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

Alisa, you have a voracious reader on your hands. Most likely, your daughter is so thrilled with books that she is gobbling up the novels as quickly as she can devour them. I went through this stage as a young girl, and my own daughter did as well. This is a good problem to have! Yet, you are wise to question whether she is reading too fast for good comprehension and engagement.

If the books she is reading are easy for her, she may be able to read very fast and still comprehend. Find out her comprehension level by discussing the books with her. What types of problems does the main character have? How does the character solve these problems? Did the character change by the end of the story? Over a snack or dinner, discuss the characters motives and actions as if he or she were a real person. This will give you insight into your daughter’s comprehension level. Keep in mind that at age 7, her comprehension will still be developing, whether or not she reads quickly or slowly, so have realistic expectations in this area.

If her comprehension isn’t as high as you would expect, you can tackle this outside of her private reading time. During reading lessons, ask her to read aloud to you. If all is well when she reads aloud, talk about how great readers have different reading speeds for different types of reading material. They speed up for easy material and slow down for harder material. Magazines and easy novels may be read at a faster pace. Poetry, textbooks, nonfiction on unfamiliar topics, and more difficult novels should be read at a slower pace. Over a period of time, look at examples of different types of reading materials together and discuss how you would approach them. The next time you are reading a book that you are enjoying (but that you feel the need to slow down to understand), share the experience with her. For example, “I’m reading this book on perennial gardening, and when I got to the part about amending the soil, I had to slow down to make sure I understood the difference between acidic soil and alkaline soil.” Or, “I’m reading a novel called My Antonia, and I am really savoring it. In fact, I’m reading it slower than I usually do, because I want to really enjoy the friendship between Antonia and Jim.” Model your thought process and how you read at different rates according to the type of book.

Cathy

says:

Marie, I liked this answer just as much as your blog. I love it when you give good examples, which you do all the time. It makes ideas clear and easy to implement. You really explained the different types of reading that must be done at different times, depending on genres and understanding. You are very wise. I’m so glad that you share your wisdom with us!

Thanks for your kind words, Cathy! I’m glad that the examples help! :)

Jennifer

says:

This is so helpful. I am a voracious reader, as are at least 2 of my children–it’s like reading is an addiction, and you simply MUST read, read, read! Sometimes it’s almost as if the “act of reading” is as important as what you read. I think this can be both a good and a bad thing. Obviously reading widely is good, but the addictive part of it isn’t so nice, and sometimes comprehension isn’t as good as it could be. I use different speeds of reading myself, as you explained, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought to explain it that way to my girls–just told them, “Slow down! You won’t absorb it well!” Thanks!

I’m glad this discussion has been helpful to you, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Kristy

says:

Thank you so much for all your practical, real-life tips. You described my son exactly: reads fast, often skips over punctuation, and can not remember what he read. We’ve been doing other exercises to increase his reading comprehension, but I never attributed the lack of reading comprehension to reading too fast. I will definitely use these… starting tomorrow. I am so thankful for All About Learning!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

You are most welcome, Kristy! The simple act of slowing down can really help with reading comprehension. Best wishes for your next reading lesson!

Darla Saunders

says:

I was just discussing this with someone about my son!! He doesn’t retain a lot of what he reads because he’s so busy going fast to just get it done! Thanks for the tips, I am going to try them!!

I’m grateful to you for reminding me of this. I knew it—I knew all about it. Yet, somehow, with a child reading in this way, I’ve been using a plethora of other ideas, yet not this first and obvious basic!

It’s good to be reminded of things that have worked for me in the past, over 35 years of teaching! Thank you very much for taking me back to my roots. :D

Are you on Twitter, or somewhere that I can follow you? Great to catch up with this. I’ll look forward to more reminders!

Annie

says:

Oh my goodness!! I was seriously JUST trying to explain to my daughter that she is reading too fast! This was so encouraging and practical! Thank you, again, for being faithful to help us help our kiddos! We love All About Learning Press!

Marie Rippel

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful, Annie! You may want to have your daughter listen to the “before” and “after” audio clips. Sometimes it is helpful to hear it from someone other than Mom. :)

Thank you for these tips! My oldest does this and I’ll be trying these out with him!

Tara S.

says:

Useful post! Thank you for the information.

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