Reading is a complex skill
Between the ages of four and seven years old, most children learn to read. Even when they can read, you should still try to read to them as often as possible. Sharing stories with a grown-up will teach them new words and encourage them to become better readers.
Children develop their reading skills in different ways. Some may want to get every word exactly right while other children will race to the end of a story. Other children may read hesitantly. Try to respond to your child’s needs and let them read at their own pace.
If they get stuck, encourage them to use all the available information and everything they know to make a guess. They should look at the pictures and remember what has happened in the story. Their ability to predict and guess accurately will gradually improve.
Reading is all around us
Point out words all around you – Help your child to read the words around them: on food packets in the supermarket, on buses, in newspapers, in recipes.
Visit your library – It’s free to join! All libraries have children’s sections. Many also have regular storytelling sessions.
Make time to read – Read a bedtime story with your child every night. Encourage them to share reading with grandparents, brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles.
Favourite Books – Let children re-read favourite books even if you think they are too easy. It encourages an enjoyment and love of reading.
Role model – Let children see you read.
Hearing your child read it is important to
Quality time – Find a few minutes where you won’t be interrupted.
Maintain the flow – 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 the child does try to ‘sound out’ words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than ‘alphabet names’.
Be positive – If the 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 the child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
Success is the key – Remember ‘Nothing succeeds like success’. Until a 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.
Talk about the books – 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 the child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, and their favourite part. This will help you to see how well they have understood and help them to develop good comprehension skills.
Fill in your child’s reading record, make comments on how they read, what they found tricky.
Different types of questions these help your child to understand what they have read
Where did the story take place?
Who are the characters in the book?
Where in the book would you find …?
Simple Comprehension questions:
What are the main events of the story?
How does the story end?
Can you describe what one of the main characters looks like?
Inference and deduction questions:
What makes you think that?
Which words make you think that?
Can you explain why …?
Giving opinion questions:
Why do you think the boy/girl behaved that way?
What do you think will happen next, why?
Do you think the story is similar to any other that you have read?