Your support at home with your child’s reading is extremely valuable. Reading is a skill that is essential as it allows them to access the curriculum and find out information for themselves. Reading allows independence and can stimulate the imagination and improve their writing. It is a way to gain knowledge and understanding, as well as an opportunity to meet a range of characters and visit new worlds! Reading regularly at home can improve children’s reading performance and helps them to have positive attitudes towards reading.
As children get older and more fluent in their reading it is often assumed that you don’t need to hear them read aloud. However, this is not the case, because when reading aloud expression can be added, word pronunciation checked and understanding assessed.
Reading should always be an enjoyable time for parent and child. It does help if you can have a routine of a time that suits both you and your child. To make reading together a special time, choose your location carefully and try to ensure that the TV, radio, tablet/laptop or games console is switched off.
What should you be reading with your child?
The short answer is ANYTHING! The Home Reader is just the tip of the iceberg! Read to your child (even Years 5 and 6 aren't too old to be read to) and read with your children. Read books, comics, magazines, newspapers, recipes, poems, song lyrics, instructions, leaflets, road signs, shopping list, food labels, football or theatre programmes...the list is endless. Research information together using books, dictionaries, encyclopaedias and the internet. All reading is good reading and should be as fun as possible for all of you.
10 top tips to help you read with your child
1. Choose a quiet time with no distractions. 10-15 minutes is usually long enough.
2. Make reading an enjoyable experience. Talk about the cover of the book – what do you think the book will be about?
3. Maintain the flow. If your child mispronounces a word, do not interrupt immediately. Allow time for self-correction. Sometimes it is better to tell a child some unknown words rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. There are different ways that children can work out words on which they are stuck:
Phonetic: Sounding out each phoneme (sound)
Contextual: Reading the rest of the sentence in order to find a word that gives the sentence sense
Pictorial: Clues can sometimes be found in pictures
4. Be positive. Use plenty of praise for your child’s achievements. Don’t criticize when they get something wrong. Don’t say “No, that’s wrong” but “Let’s read it together.” Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise, even for the smallest achievement.
5. Success is key! Don’t push your child too much to read beyond their ability. Choose books suited to age and development and let your child choose books that they find interesting. There is no point struggling with a book with lots of unknown words. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children could become reluctant readers.
6. Visit the library.
7. Regular practice. Try to read with your child on most school days. “Little and often” is best.
8. Talk about the books. Reading isn’t just about being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is comprehension – being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book – you will be able to see how well they have understood.
9. Variety is important. Help your child to choose a variety of reading materials e.g. picture books, novels, comics, magazines, poems and information books.
10. Remember reading does't have to be just at a set time and place. Don't forget to ask your child to read suitable words form the environment e.g. signs, labels etc.
Questions to ask your child when reading
It can be difficult to think of questions to ask your child about the book that you are reading together or after they have read it independently. Below we have included a range of questions that you can use. They have been separated into questions for fiction and non-fiction books.
The Reading Gems are question starters that have been separated into the different types of reading skills that each section will help develop.