Parents often ask how they can help their children with learning to read as they are very aware of what an important role it plays in future academic success. Reading helps develop intellect, increase vocabulary, improve writing and spelling all of which increase self-confidence and build motivation.
Learning to read does not happen overnight. It involves a series of stages and these can begin from when a child is months old. It takes time to pass through these stages and children require systematic teaching and lots of practice to move through them successfully.
The Emerging Reader
The Early Reader
The Fluent Reader
How you can help your child on the journey to becoming a fluent reader?
As a parent you are your child’s first and most important teacher. Reading aloud to children is the best way to get them interested in reading. It is natural to want to compare your child’s reading abilities with those of children of the same age, but not all children develop reading skills at the same pace. What’s important is that you are aware of your child’s reading level so you can chose books and activities which are appropriate and will help develop their skills.
Tip 1: Talk to your child
Oral language is the foundation of reading. Listening and speaking are a child’s first introduction to language. Talk to your child as much as possible about the things you are doing and thinking and encourage them to do the same. Ask them lots of questions, sing songs, playing rhyming and riddle games. Be patient and allow them time to find the words they want to use.
Tip 2: Make Reading Fun
The more you enjoy the reading experience, the more your child will enjoy it. Read aloud with drama and excitement, use different voices for different characters. Re-read favourite books as many times as your child wants to hear them, and choose books from authors your child enjoys. Read stories with repetitive parts and encourage your child to join in. Choose new books together and ensure these cover all the different genres. When reading track the print with your finger so the connection is made between the word on the page and those being heard.
Tip 3: Read Every Day
Children love routine, and reading is something you can both look forward to every day. By taking the time to read with your child, you show them that reading is important as well as fun. Reading with your child is the best thing you can do to help them learn at school. Keep reading to your child even once they are able to read for themselves. This will keep their interest alive and hearing stories they aren’t yet able to access themselves, will stretch understanding and widen knowledge.
Tip 4: Set an Example
As a parents, you are your child’s most important role model. If your child sees you reading, especially for pleasure or information, they will understand that reading is a worthwhile activity. Talking about books is just as important as reading them. Discussing a story or book will help your child understand it and connect it to their own experience of life. It also helps to enrich vocabulary.
Tip 5: Listen to your Child Read
As your child learns to read, listen to them read aloud as often as you can. Choosing a time when there will be no interruptions is essential. As you listen, remember that your reactions are important. Listen without interrupting, be enthusiastic and give specific praise. Patience and encouragement really are key. Guide your child in their choice of books and steer them away from ones which are too difficult. Give your child time to work out tricky words, get them to try the following strategies:
Finally, remember you can always ask me or your child’s teacher for help and guidance.