Students that are English Learners may have a strong foundation in their mother language and are able to practice Reading Skills that are required of them in their classes at school. How do you help students improve fluency in a new language? To start, it is very important to meet the student needs at the level that they are at.

Helping Parents

Recently I had the opportunity to interpret for a teacher at a Parent Teacher Conference for a 4th grade student. During the conference, his parents asked for resources or books that their son could read to help him with comprehension. The fourth grade teacher was able to recommend picture books in English that would help with his sight word fluency. Reading Picture books will also help with comprehension because of the illustrations. As a primary teacher, I was so happy to hear his teacher recommend picture books.

Other resources I could think about were the ones I usually find at Teachers Pay Teachers. TpT has many resources to choose from, and I recently found one at Jorja’s Dual Language Classroom Store on TpT. Jorja has comprehension reading pages available in Spanish, which will immensely help this student with the skills he is learning about in his class.

Primary Vs. Intermediate

Something to remember is that students in Kindergarten and 1st Grade are mostly learning the reading foundations. Students that are in the primary grades are learning to read and intermediate students are reading to learn.

How do you help students improve fluency in Kindergarten and 1st Grade? Students at this grade level are mostly in the letter name identification, letter sound fluency, and reading CVC words, (Consonant Vowel Consonant) stage. It is important to find picture cards that have cognate words wich makes it visually helpful for students to see the similarities in English and Spanish. You can read more about Cognate Words Here.

How to Help at Home

Tracking Words

Children often don’t what to do when they read. Sure, this skill is taught at schools, but more often than not, kids forget when they get home. Showing kids how to track what they read is important and they can do it by using their finger to track or by using a tool that will help them read each line. Touching each word is very important when reading. This teaches children where the word begins and where it ends, which can be very tricky when learning a new language. Modeling is key, showing kids how to do it is the best tool you can show them.

Choral Reading

Try reading the words outloud when reading a book, that is choral reading. You have your child read the story with you at a moderate pace. The best thing you can do is pick a book that your child can read on their own. Practice makes progress.

Recruit Other Listeners

The goal is to have your child practice their reading outloud so you can hear them and help them correct where they get stuck. Your child can also choose someone or something to read to while you do other things. For example, your child could read to a stuffed animal nearby while you cook dinner. This will help their fluency and confidence.


One of the activities that classroom teachers have done in the past, was to have students record themselves while reading their assigned books. This is a perfect activity to do at home! Have your child read and record themselves on the phone. They can easily replay their recording as they re-read their book or passage so they can hear where they need more support. The key is to always choose books that are on level with your child’s pace. Enjoy!

TpT Resources

For more Bilingual resources please visit Bilingual Education y Más !