Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.
— Marilyn Jager Adams
That statement sums up one of the most essential ways of helping your child to read. From listening to a fluent reader children will begin to understand and eventually mimic the expression that is essential to become a fluent reader. Fluency and expression are key to a child’s comprehension and you should help and encourage your child to incorporate expression into their reading. They only way to do this is to read aloud and act as a role model to your child.
Reading materials should be the child’s choice
I do not believe in forcing books upon your child. It is important that they have their own choice of reading materials. Children will concentrate more readily when reading or listening to something that actually means something to them and is of interest to them. If they want to read a comic, then promote this. This enjoyment promotes a love for reading and a willingness and desire to read more and will eventually expand their interests to other reading materials.
It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading.
— Katherine Patterson
Getting your child interested in reading
Act as a role model. Let your child see you read and show your enjoyment and talk openly about your reading experiences. Find books that follow your child’s interests and share facts with them that you have learned from books.
Reading tips to help pre-readers
- Provide a range of books and allow your child to choose the reading material.
- Encourage your child to hold the book, open the book the correct way around and turn the pages.
- Point to the words as you read.
- Ask your child simple questions eg: where is the ball / teddy etc. This provides an emphasis on using the pictures as clues to help read the text.
Reading tips to help beginning readers
- Promote the vocabulary associated with books eg: title, page, word.
- Encourage your child to finger point to words as they read.
- Remind children to use pictures to help read the story. There is a common misconception where parents actually hide the images when doing reading home works. This is something we should promote. Using the pictures to help decode words in the story shows initiative and promotes confidence as children can work out words from pictures. When using pictures they are still using their sounds eg: they see a word beginning with ‘c’ and a picture of a cat and can figure out the word by putting their sounds and pictures together.
- Talk about the pictures and events as you read. Ask simple questions such as ‘ where was the boy going’ etc.
- Ask simple questions about the structure if the story eg: what happened a the beginning/ middle / end? Etc
Reading tips to further ability of more confident readers
- Provide appropriate challenge. Books that are too complex inhibits growing confidence whereas books that are too easy will lead to boredom. So choose your books wisely. Listening to your child will help you decipher. If the speech is broken with lots of pausing and sounding out, it is too difficult. If they fly through it with no challenge it is too easy. An appropriate level should sound fluent, but your child should come across some words they will have to sound out.
- Be a patient listener and encourage your child to sound out new words. Don’t be tempted to jump in and tell your child. They will become reliant on this and just look to an adult fir help.
- Ask more detailed questions that promote thought behind what is actually written eg: ‘why do you think the boy is so sad’
- Encourage your child to predict the story. ‘what do you think will happen next’ ask your child to retell the story in their own words.