Reading at home - tips to help you to support your child
- Set aside a regular time to read to your children every day.
Studies show that regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words. Whether your children are preschoolers or preteens, it will increase their desire to read independently.
- Surround your children with reading material.
Tempt your children to read by having a large supply of appealing books and magazines at their reading level. Put the reading materials in cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms, and even by the TV.
- Read to your children.
Seeing you read will inspire your children to read.
- Encourage a wide variety of reading activities.
Make reading an integral part of your children's lives. Get them to read menus, roadside signs, game instructions, weather reports, film time listings, and other practical everyday information.
- Develop the library habit.
Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.
- Be knowledgeable about your children's progress and the way that reading is taught in schools.
Find out what reading skills your child is expected to have; if you are not sure what the levels mean; ask the class teacher who will be able to explain it further. Take part in literacy workshops on offer and discuss with your child and their teacher how they are taught to read in school so that you can support this at home
- Use a variety of aids to help your children.
To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in shops, in the library and online. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.
- Look at the whole book.
Discuss the illustrations, the front and back cover, make predictions about the book before reading it. Discuss the type of books that they are reading (fiction, non-fiction, genre etc).
- Discuss the characters.
Discuss your child’s favourite/least favourite characters, how they are feeling at different times in the book and the choices that they make etc. You can extend this further by asking your child to write a diary entry as if they were a character from the book.
- The Author.
If your child likes a particular book investigate the author/illustrator together and find out his/her life and other books that they have written/illustrated.
Stop at different points in the books and discuss the last page/paragraph/sentence etc; ask your child encouraging questions so that you are sure that they understand what is happening in the book and also clarify meanings of words etc
- Word choice and use of language.
Depending on your child’s age and stage, discuss the different uses of language and word choices e.g. rhyme, alliteration, effect, metaphors, similes etc
Demonstrate how to read pages/paragraphs/sentences using appropriate expression and intonation; discuss the difference that it makes to the reader and/or audience.
- Art work
Encourage your child to draw a picture of something that they have read about maybe a character or a setting; do this together and comparing and contrasting what you have created.
- Become authors
Work with your child to write the next page/paragraph/sentence/chapter/book and read it together.
- Stay in contact with the school
Regularly comment in your child’s reading record explaining how your child got on with their book etc; note down any difficulties or triumphs that they experienced and anything that you have been doing at home that you have found successful.
- Show enthusiasm for your children's reading.
Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Be sure to give them genuine praise for their efforts.