Parents and Carers are hugely important as reading role models and reading teachers in the home.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help make listening to your children read a positive experience.
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Fifteen to twenty minutes is usually long enough.
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if they are reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to ‘sound out’ words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than ‘alphabet names’.
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. Understanding what has been read is really important. If a child can read the words but not understand what is happening in the text, then the book is too difficult. This can often lead to your child becoming reluctant to read. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is best. Teachers have limited time to listen to your child one to one. Working together with school is the best way to give your child the best reading experience they can have. Reading a little bit at home every night in comfortable, quiet space complements the work that is being dome in school during the day.
Your child will have a reading diary from school. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns or use Seesaw or Tapestry. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials eg. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books