How to Help your Child with Reading
* Read with your child every day but try to do so at a time when there are few other distractions and they are not too tired (a challenge after a long day at school!).
* Always praise your child’s efforts. For a child to progress as a reader, he/she must feel confident and enjoy their reading. If your child makes a mistake, couch your comments in positive terms – eg ‘Yes, you’re right, that word does start with a ‘t’, but have a look at the sounds after it.’
* Don’t think you can’t tell your child difficult words. If your child is struggling with a tricky word, it’s fine to tell it to them. Use your common sense. If it’s a word that you know he or she has come across before or could sound out or could guess from the pictures, encourage them to try to remember it, or to say the sounds, or to look at the picture for clues. If it’s a real toughie, just tell them.
* Help your child build up a vocabulary of sight words. Phonic knowledge is vital, but the aim of learning to read is to eventually recognise words on sight, particularly irregular words. Keep to hand the list of the top 100 high-frequency words, and every now and again check that your child is slowly building up their sight vocabulary.
* Don’t jump in to correct mistakes too early. This is very important, and surprisingly hard to do! Wait until the end of a phrase or sentence to see if your child realises they have made an error before drawing attention to it (positively! See above).
* Talk about the book before and after reading. Reading well is about far more than simply being able to decode words on a page. The best readers are able to recount stories accurately, make predictions about events or characters, draw inferences, relate texts to other stories they’ve read and to their own experiences. Therefore, discussion around a book is as important as actually reading it.
Before starting, ask your child to tell you what they see on its cover – “What do you think this book might be about?” “Why do you think that?”. Is there a blurb on the back? Read it and discuss.
Ask questions as your child reads (though not so frequently as to disrupt their flow!) - “What do you think will happen next?”
After finishing, ask your child if they enjoyed the book and why – “What was your favourite part?” “Why do you think this character behaved in that way?” “What would you have done if it had happened to you?”