The teacher says that my first-grader is becoming a good reader. However, when I listen to her read, she sounds so choppy to me. I have trouble believing what the teacher is saying, and I am even considering getting my child some special help. How can parents really tell if their child is reading on grade level? - Questioning


If you have the opportunity, go visit your daughter's class during reading time. You will immediately hear how the children in each of the reading groups read. This should provide you with the reassurance that you are looking for, assuming that your child is in a typical classroom.

All parents can have an opportunity to hear kindergartners and first-, second- and third-graders read a short passage on the PBS Web site at www.pbs.org/parents.What is great about this site is that it explains how each reader typically reads for that grade. For example, the beginning first-grade reader primarily reads in a word-by-word manner.

We have found that there is a wealth of information on how children learn to read, why so many struggle, and how parents can help young children learn to read on the Reading Rockets Web site at www.readingrockets.org. There are also many well-thought-out reading activities for children to do. For example, you can find special video interviews by the authors and illustrators of children's books, a monthly selection of recommended books, quizzes and contests for young readers.