Reading together is a valuable thing to do at all ages. Reading increases your child’s vocabulary, expands their understanding of the world, and gives them confidence when using language. In the early years, reading together is also an important way to make the link between spoken words and written words.
Here are some general tips for reading together:
- Set aside time for reading every day. Reading before bedtime is a good habit to get into, regardless of age.
- Allow your child to read at their own pace, particularly in the early years. You can model good pace if/when you read aloud to them.
- Point out important features about a book – for example, the words and pictures, the front cover, the spine, the contents page, graphics, diagrams or the title. Discuss these features and use them while reading.
- If your child is confident with their reading, allow them to read without interruption. Fluency is gained with confidence.
- Mistakes can be discussed after a block of reading, or in subsequent readings.
Working out new or difficult words
It is often tricky to know how much support to give when helping your child work out new or difficult words. What is important, is to give your child time to work out the words themselves first. This helps develop their reading skills and ability to problem solve.
If they get stuck, however, you could help them by asking questions like these:
- Look at the picture. What word makes sense?
- Look at the picture. What can you see in the picture that might start with that letter?
- What letter (or letters) does the word start with? What sound does that letter (or letters) make?
- What letters are in the middle of the word? What sound do these letters make?
- What letter (or letters) does the word end with? What sound does that letter (or letters) make?
- Can you put those sounds together to make a word?
- Are there parts of this word you know? i.e. smaller words, base words
- Does that word sound right? Is there another word you could try?
- Let’s skip the word and read on. What word would make sense there? Let’s read it again.
- Let’s have a look at the glossary. Is the word in there?
Another good strategy is to ask your child how they worked out the word. This helps reinforce reading strategies they learn from you and from school
Mrs Sarah Mills
Leading Teacher Literacy