Reading To Learn: Profile, Tips, & More

Children ages 5 to 12 may participate in PAWS for Reading, a program that allows them to practice reading to a great audience: therapy dogs!

This week, we look at readers who have made the switch from learning to read to "Reading To Learn."

Reading to Learn readers are typically 8 years old and older. Around 3rd or 4th grade, children should start to turn from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." This is when the mechanics of word decoding is not as important as understanding the larger meanings of written texts. These readers enthusiastically turn to books for information about a variety of topics, from bugs to airplanes to how to fold origami.

How Paws for Reading Helps Your Reader

At this point in your child's reading development, cultivating "fluency" is important. A fluent reader is one who can easily and smoothly read sentences with appropriate phrasing and intonation ("reading like you talk"). PAWS for Reading supports fluency by reducing anxiety in a child related to reading and giving him or her the opportunity to practice reading fluidly and with expression.

What You Can Do To Support Your Reader

  • Encourage in-depth learning about a topic before reading. The more background knowledge your child has about a topic before reading a book about it, the more he or she will "get" from reading. Spend some time talking about a subject as well as previewing pictures before your child reads.
  • Pay attention to what your child is studying in school. Get books and magazines from your library branch related to the subjects your child is studying. This will help build background knowledge and make textbook reading easier.
  • Make read-alouds a family affair! Your child is now ready to start contributing to your family read-alouds. Read a page or two and then ask your reader to read the next paragraph.
  • Let your child choose what to read. Research shows that children who have a free choice of what to read are more likely to read longer and with more attention. Take your child to the library often to browse and select books to read.

For more information about the PAWS for Reading program, see the PAWS for Reading web page or call the library at 918-549-7323 (READ).

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