Proven Elementary Reading Strategies You Must Try

Elementary reading is a foundational skill that has a direct impact on the educational success of children. It is the main skill that provides children with a rudimentary means of gathering information and making sense of the world around them.

Reading will eventually enable them to gather and comprehend more complex information as they move to higher education. The importance of developing elementary reading skills cannot be overlooked because it has a long-term impact on a person’s educational, occupational, and social success.

We’ve looked through archives and educational studies to provide you with actionable information that you can use to help children become excellent readers.

A little girl reading
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Choral Reading

Choral reading is a strategy where the teacher and class read a particular text aloud and in unison. Choral reading is compelling because it reinforces comprehension of the words and sentences read aloud.

It also improves retention, vocabulary, and fluency. It also aids struggling readers develop confidence in reading aloud because it draws unwanted focus away from them and encourages them to participate.

Pair-Assisted Reading

Pair-assisted reading is a reading strategy where teachers pair two students during reading practice. One reads the material aloud while the other assumes the role of a listener.

The more fluent reader usually reads the content first. This sequence provides the struggling reader with a model to follow and allows them to ask questions about the content before reading it aloud.

This 2014 study revealed that pair-assisted learning yields greater fluency, use of context, greater likelihood of self-correction, fewer errors, and better phonic skills. Students were also more confident in reading and speaking.

The Flaw in Round Robin and Popcorn Reading

Round Robin and Popcorn Reading are reading strategies wherein each learner in the class takes a turn to read text out loud. This approach is flawed because it fails to provide the reader with a reading model to learn from.

It also exposes the struggling reader to an uncomfortable situation. – nobody wants his deficiencies to be highlighted, especially in class. It may cause the child to fear the prospect of reading instead of enjoying it.

Cross-grade Reading

Cross-grade reading involves pairing upper and lower grade-level students for reading assignments. The rationale behind this strategy is to provide learners with a one-on-one mentorship relationship. Children from higher levels teach those from lower levels.

The benefits derived from this approach flow both ways. 

Kids from lower levels gain a model with greater reading fluency and benefits from the focused attention. In comparison, children from higher levels develop soft skills such as empathy and patience.

It also benefits older children who struggle with their reading. It gives them access to simpler reading material without shame and nurtures their leadership skills. 

Moreover, this approach instills learners with a sense of community.

Ear Reading

Ear reading is a strategy where learners listen to an audiobook while reading the physical book. This approach is beneficial to all learners because learners associate the reading material with the sounds in the audiobook.

This approach is particularly beneficial for struggling learners and those with dyslexia because it bridges the gap between eye reading and ear reading. In this 2010 study, dyslexic students who participated in ear reading sessions exhibited better reading accuracy, greater motivation, and better behavior and school performance.

However, ear reading cannot serve as a substitute for a structured literacy approach because it fails to provide sufficient fluency training.

Structured Literacy Approach

This teaching approach gives students an in-depth understanding of fundamental concepts such as:

  • Phonology – identifying sounds in words.
  • Orthography – associating sounds with symbols.
  • Syllables – dividing words into syllables.
  • Morphology – understanding base words and affixes.
  • Syntax – applying correct sentence structure.
  • Semantics – understanding the meaning of words and sentences. 

This approach develops the neural routes that are necessary for one to become a proficient reader. This approach is beneficial to all learners but is particularly effective for struggling learners. Children from this district showed significantly improved educational performance after being taught via a structured literacy approach. 

Allow Learners to Choose What They Read

The rationale behind allowing them to choose the books they read is, so they are more engaged in the material they are reading. The presumption is that children naturally gravitate to exciting topics and stories.

Alternately, you can offer new choices that reflect the learner’s experiences. This measure provides learners with challenging and stimulating content to facilitate learning.

Asking learners about their interests and hobbies is an excellent way to assess what topics they find interesting. It will make it easier to select reading materials that a learner might find interesting.

Fluency-Oriented Reading Instruction

This study shows that fluency-oriented reading instruction improves pronunciation and reading comprehension compared to lessons taught in pairs or alone.

It is a classroom-based approach that emphasizes minimizing phonics decoding errors and focuses on reading instruction to facilitate grammar and vocabulary mastery. 


We cannot overstate the importance of developing a child’s reading skills. Reading proficiency takes a lot of time and work to achieve. These strategies provide instructors with a multitude of approaches to help ensure that children develop the skills they need for long-term educational success.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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