Ways to help your child get the most from reading at home
Why is reading so important?
- Being a good reader has a positive impact on your child’s ability to communicate and interact with others, as well as improving speaking, listening and writing skills.
- Reading is a way of unlocking a world of creativity and imagination. New words and new experiences are pleasures achieved when you can read.
- Reading is an important step in you child’s education because it unlocks the ability to understand information in other subjects.
- Frequent reading for pleasure can help to increase your child’s well-being.
- Reading is a fundamental life skill. Many practical tasks would be very challenging without the ability to read, so reading skills are important to learn at an early age.
How to read with your child
Create a routine
If you can, get into a routine of reading at the same time each day so that you are likely to stick to a daily reading session. Reading together at bedtime is a popular choice, but you might find early morning or after school sessions more successful if your child is too tired in the evening.
Make time to read little and often
Reading together doesn’t have to take along time; just 10 minutes a day makes a positive impact.
Prepare a reading environment
Try to find a quiet space away from distractions. Feeling relaxed will help your child to enjoy the experience even more.
Engage with and support reading
Your main role is to check accuracy of word reading/decoding. It is also important to talk to your child about the text they have been reading and to ask questions to gage understanding. Questions can be as simple as asking your child to retell events, recall key information or questions where they have to use clues from the text.
Praise after reading
Its important to offer encouragement whilst your child is reading, but try and praise your child after reading too. This ends on a positive note and helps your child look forward to the next session.
Encouraging reading for pleasure
- Be a good role model - let your child see you reading, and enjoying it, to show that reading at home isn't just for homework.
- Provide books, and other reading material, related to your child’s interests at home.
- Talk about the books your child is reading. Asking questions will help to develop enthusiasm and comprehension skills.
- Show your child that you are interested in the characters and storylines from their books to help build excitement.
- Even if your child is an able, independent reader, its good to still read to them. Reading to your child from an early age helps to create a bond and a positive memory of reading.
- Get into character and put on funny voices when reading.
- Join in with events at your local library. Often libraries offer author events which can be great fun and inspiring.
- Encourage drawing, writing and game playing linked to book content. This helps your child engage with stories and shows that learning to read isn't just about sounding out words.
How to help your child if they are struggling with reading
- Try to observe and reflect on what it is your child is struggling with — do you think they are lacking a phonics skill? A comprehension skill? Or is it a memory retention skill?
- Talk to the class teacher about your concerns and use your child’s reading record to communicate any worries.
- If your child is stuck on a specific word, don’t be afraid to tell them the word and move on.
- Be patient as learning to read wont happen overnight.
- Take the pressure off the situation — it’s okay to read together or to take it on turns to read a page each.
- Be positive — give plenty of praise and encouragement.
- Encourage your child to read by helping them find authors, topics or genres that they enjoy and are interested in.