Your Reading Guide
One of the simplest tools you can use in the way of reading strategies for kids is to use a Reading Guide while reading with your child.
A reading guide is simpler to use than pointing with a finger because the guide doesn’t have to be moved left to right as your child reads. Your child can simply slide the reading guide down the page as he reads.
More about the Reading Guide below, but I did want to mention, if you’re interested in other strategies for reading, be sure to check out other Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities too!
Why Use a Reading Guide?
Many remedial reading programs for kids recommend the use of side-by-side guided reading to help with reading. This simple tool makes reading easier for children with visual perception difficulties, ocular motor deficits, dyslexia, etc.
Reading guides are recommended as dyslexia reading aids because they help kids maintain their place. If your child loses his place frequently when reading, then a reading guide allows your child to keep his place easily.
If you need to be sure your child is tracking each sentence properly as you read aloud to him, use a reading guide with a reading window in it. This will insure your child is focusing on the actual sentence you are reading.
Another key benefit of using a reading guide is that it is proven to increase a child’s reading rate. When a child easily moves his eyes across the line, then back to the beginning of the next line, his reading goes more smoothly. When reading is more fluent, your child’s reading speed will be improved.
How to Use a Reading Guide with Guided Reading
When your child is struggling with a reading disability, one-on-one, direct instruction is proven by research to be one of the key reading strategies for success. Guided reading is a direct instruction strategy that is highly recommended, and it is proven to improve reading abilities.
To use the guided reading strategy, you will need a reading guide (as shown in the pictures on this page).
With your reading guide in hand, sit side-by-side with your child. You can have your child read aloud, you can read to your child, or you and your child can take turns reading aloud.
The key in the guided reading strategy is for you to assist and instruct your child as you read together. When your child reads, if he struggles with a word and the reading guide is underlining the word, you’ll know precisely where to point in helping your child decode the word.
As you read aloud to your child, you can read fluently with proper tone of voice. Having the reading guide indicate where you are reading will help your child see and hear how you vary your voice along with the words in the sentence.
This type of side-by-side reading practice is one of the best ways to demonstrate good reading skills while assisting your child in developing his own reading abilities.
Guided Reading Guide Techniques
To use the reading guide, you simply slide the card down in one of three ways while reading:
- Slide the reading guide so that the sentence currently being read shows through the reading window
- Slide the edge of the reading guide down to underline each sentence as it is read, or
- Slide the reading guide down from the above the line being read to cover the sentence that was just read.
No matter which of the guided reading strategies you use, the reading guide will help your child focus on the sentence being read.
For any child who frequently loses his place while reading, using a reading guide can become an essential reading aid to help make reading easier. Not only will the use of the guide eliminate frustration over frequently losing his place, your child’s reading speed will increase because he won’t have to spend time figuring out where he was.
A Reading Guide is Easy for Readers of All Ages to Use.
Reading Guides can be a little bit difficult to use with elementary aged kids who are just learning to read. Until the child learns the concept of word-by-word reading, the guide itself is not a highly useful tool.
In the very beginning, when first learning to read, it is better to use your finger as a reading guide to point to each individual word being read. As your child learns many of the easier words, it becomes easier to introduce a reading guide to eliminate the word-by-word pointing.
If a child can read more than half of the words in each sentence, then a reading guide becomes a useful tool. At this point, your child will recognize the words he knows, and he’s likely to be able to focus on the words he doesn’t know because there will only be a couple of unknown words on each line.
Once your child reaches the point of using a reading guide, it can be a good tool to use for reading fluency throughout the rest of his schooling. Reading guides are so easy to use, that many readers chose to use them for all of their reading because they can read faster using a reading guide. (You might want to try it yourself!) 😉
High School aged kids are less likely to want to use a reading guide at school, but if you can demonstrate how the guide increases their reading speed, they may adopt the reading guide for homework. Because a reader can “sweep” down the page easily using a reading guide, it is usually easy for them to see how their reading speed increases.
Guided Reading Guides
Three of the most loved reading guides are the following three types of guides:
Guided Reading Strips Asst. Set of 7 (Colored Overlays) is one of the most popular choices. This pack of reading strips lets your child choose his favorite color or pick a different color based upon his mood. For kids with organizational issues, buying a multi-pack like this helps with having one handy whenever another one is misplaced. When reading guides go wandering, hopefully one will end up in each of your child’s favorite reading spots.
These Deluxe Durable Plastic Eye Lighter Reading Guide Strips (4 pack) are harder, like a plastic ruler, and some kids much prefer them over the thinner, flexible plastic reading guides. The jewel tones are enticing to kids, and the thinner, transparent “highlighter” function of this reading guide is helpful for kids who prefer to read with a colored overlay affect.
This Cut Out Window Blue Trakker Reading Guide is our favorite type of reading guide. It is about the size of a 3×5 index card (slightly larger). We like this type of card because you can curl up the bottom edge a bit and hold it, which makes moving the card from one page to the next easier. For the thinner reading guides, they lie flat as you slide them down the page, but you have to then grasp them and lift them to move them to the next page. With this kind of card, your grip on the bottom edge of the card can remain constant and that helps with fluency (at least, it does for us). This is my preferred type of card, but it is not the top-selling kind, so a lot of people obviously prefer the other kinds listed above! 😉
Of course, there are more reading guide options available, and you may prefer a different type of reading guide. Choose whichever you think your child will prefer. You can buy a variety if you want to find the one your child likes best. You can use the less preferred ones yourself or take the less preferred ones with you when you’re traveling. That way, if one gets lost or left behind, it won’t be the favorite one your child uses all the time at home. 😉
Help with Reading Strategies Through Guided Reading Guides
So now that you have the low-down on guided reading guides, I hope you’ll give them a try. A reading guide can make a big difference in your child’s willingness to read, and it can improve your child’s reading abilities quickly if your child is already a functional reader but struggles with fluency.
Reading Guides are quick, simple tools you can use as a reading aid. As a very low-tech solution, reading guides are always worth a try if you’re looking for simple assistive technology to make reading easier for your child.