Children are often asked to read at home as part of their regular or holiday homework. As a parent you may be left wondering what you can do to support your child to ensure they are learning and developing as readers. Whether you have an avid or reluctant reader at home, the following ideas can be used to support your child.
Encourage a love for reading
Support your child to find texts that interest them. This might be a book on a topic of their choice, but it could also be a magazine, graphic novel, comic, newspaper or even a manual. The important thing is that they are interested and want to engage. Hopefully, they will learn to love reading and want to do it for enjoyment and relaxation.
Help your child to find the ‘right’ material
Children often need help to find reading material that they can read successfully. You could ask your child to read the first page aloud and then ask, “Is it too easy, too hard or just right?”. Librarians, teachers and your child’s friends are also great to ask for recommendations. As a teacher, I have seen children go from non-readers to competing with other children to finish a book series due to finding books that they are excited to read. It is worth taking the time to find the ‘right’ material so don’t be too committed to finishing something if they hate it. However if you think they will enjoy it once they have read a little further, taking turns to read pages might re-engage them to get to the next ‘hook’ in the story.
Read with you child
It is helpful to read to your child and to listen to them read. Reading to your child allows them the opportunity to develop fluency, hear correct pronunciation and to discuss their ideas and understanding. It is also particularly important if they do not enjoy reading themselves; your reading will expose them to different language and ideas. Hopefully over time they will see the value of reading and want to participate themselves.
Hearing your child read aloud, allows you to help them with unknown words and to develop their other reading skills such as comprehension and monitoring.
Asking your child questions while reading can assist them to develop comprehension and help them to remember what they have read. Questions may include What does this remind you of? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think they did that? How would you feel? Why do you think the author wrote this?
Asking your child, “Does that makes sense?” can help them to learn to monitor their own understanding. If it does not make sense, encourage them to read it again so they learn what to do when the meaning isn’t clear.
Finally, remember reading should be enjoyable. It is a wonderful way to step into another world, learn something new, relax and spend some quality time with your child.