Reading at Home
Experts in child literacy are unanimous in their belief that parents should read with their children. The power of the parent-child bond has a positive effect on a child's attitude toward reading and their ability to read. Try the suggestions below to help make reading with your child both a pleasure and a learning experience.
Use sound strategies to tackle a new word.
- Ask your child to sound out an unknown word. Look at the letters in a difficult word and have your child pronounce each sound, or phoneme. Then see if they can blend the sounds together to pronounce the word.
- Help them memorise irregular words. Explain that words like where, hour, or sign are hard to sound out since they don't follow normal sound patterns. Point these words out when you're reading to help your child learn to recognise them on their own. In school we call these 'red' words.
- Use suffixes, prefixes, and root words. If your child knows the word day, guide them to define new words like yesterday or daily. Similarly, if they knows what pre- means, it's easy to learn new words like prepare or preschool.
Use the story to help your child learn.
- Ask your child what word or idea would make sense in the plot of the story when they get stuck on an unfamiliar word.
- Encourage your child to look at illustrations, pictures, titles, or graphs to figure out the meaning of new words.
Give support and encouragement.
- Challenge your child to figure out new words, but always supply the word before they become frustrated.
- After your child has read a story, reread it aloud yourself so that they can enjoy it without interruption.
Be a good role model. Let your child see you reading and share your excitement when you enjoy a great book of your own.
Make reading a priority. Whether it's 10 minutes every night before bed or an hour every Sunday morning, it helps to set aside a specific time for reading. This kind of special "together time" can go a long way toward getting your child interested in books.
Create the right atmosphere. Find a quiet comfortable place to listen to your child read. While you don't need to build a special reading space, it helps to ensure that, even in a busy home, there's a quiet place for reading.
Make reading fun. Children may not get excited about the idea of quiet time spent curled up on the couch. Why not make it fun by turning reading sessions into impromptu theatre performances? Play around with funny voices to impersonate animals or unusual characters in stories. You'll get to release some tension, and your child will learn to think of reading as fun rather than work.
Keep reading aloud to your child. Don't stop reading aloud to your child once they learn to read by themselves. When you read to your child, you let your child enjoy books that are beyond their independent reading level and build their vocabulary by exposing them to new words. Reading aloud is also a chance for you to model reading smoothly and with expression.
Introduce new books. Each year there is one book that seems to steal the hearts and minds of all children. While it may seem like the only book your child wants to read, it's important to remember that there are millions of books that will suit your child's interests and capture their imagination.
Please take at look at our reading booklet below.