As a parent or guardian, helping a child learn to read is one of the most important ways you can support their education.
17 September 2015| Last updated on 13 July 2017
It's always great as a parent to assist your child in becoming a skilled, confident reader by following these helpful tips. Plus, it's widely believed that children who read outside of school as well as in school, are much more likely to succeed.
1. Allocate at least 15 minutes every day to read to your child
Whether it's on a morning, once they've finished nursery or school or everyone's favourite. At bed time!
2. Use the pause, prompt, praise approach
If your child stops at a difficult word, then pause briefly. Allow five or so seconds to allow your child time and the opportunity to figure the word out themselves.
If they cannot read the word, or don't read it correctly, as them to "try again" or as "what word would make sense?" or say "look at the picture" as prompts. If your child still cannot read the word correctly after two different prompts, say the word for them and ask them to repeat it.
When they read a difficult word correctly, praise them for not reading it without help from you.
3. Choose books that are interesting and right for your child
Not too hard, not too easy... And always fun and interesting to ensure they're engaged!
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4. Talk about reading with your child
Before opening the first page of the book to start reading, look at the book itself; the cover, the pictures, and ask your child if they can predict what the story might be about. Talk about their favourite books or characters. Talk about different ways that the book might have ended.
5. If they ask you to read their favourite book again and again...
6. Read your own childhood books to them
And talk about your favourites with your child! Not only will you share some fond memories of your own with your child, but you'll let them see that you also learned to read once too, and that's relatable and aspiring for them.
7. Let them see you read
Whether it's novels, the newspaper or other texts you find interesting. When children see their parents do something, they'll interpret to be a valuable activity that they want to join in with too!
8. Encourage them to write about the books you read
This is definitely an excellent support tool when they're learning to read. They can then read their own work to you afterwards to enhance their whole learning experience.
9. Ask your child to read to you
Even if they're not old enough to actually read the words on the page and is just following the pictures; this is a great step to early reading, and will help your child to build confidence and understanding about stories and how they work.
10. Go to the library
Whether you've created a home library, or you have a public one that you visit regularly. This way you can provide them with lots of different reading materials beyond a book; comics, newspapers, recipe books, computer software and even an encyclopedia!
11. Ask them to read the recipe when cooking
It lets them feel involved, feel useful and encourages another skill while enhancing another.
12. Carry books everywhere
Take books with you wherever you go to; the restaurant, to visit relatives and friends, while in the car, on the bus or even to the doctor's or dentist's office.
13. Point out words on street signs, cereal boxes and packaging for toys...
...Continue the learning process while out in the big wide world!
14. Show them how much you value reading
By visiting your child's classroom, talking to the teacher or support tutor, and showing them that you really value and encourage their reading progress.
15. Don't stop reading to them when they're older
Once they've learnt to read successfully, don't stop reading to them. There is so much value to be gained from reading to your child until they reach their teenage years; both educational and emotionally as a parent and child.
How can I encourage more book, less tablet?
We are all guilty of enjoying the convenience of e-readers and tablet computers, and without a doubt, younger generations are picking up on it, too. Inevitably, a lot of parents believe that gadgets such as these are beneficial to their child's learning, and helps to capture their child's interest in books.
Nonetheless, if you're a parent who wants their child to learn from good old-fashioned paper books, you can implement awards to their reading development; such as, they earn stickers for every book they read or a certificate or medal for completing the challenge of completing so many books.
As the above tips also state, let them see you reading paperback books, newspapers... And not tablets or e-readers. Children copy our habits, so if you wish for them to learn to read in a way that avoids computer technology, make sure you're doing it too! Or at least, not in front of them.