One way in which you can help your child get better at reading is through lots of practice. By hearing your child read aloud at home each day, you can help them improve. Reading is an invaluable life skill and we encourage parents to hear their child read regularly (20 minutes daily) to supplement what we do in school as it makes a real difference. Little and often is far better than one long extended reading session.
It is the teachers’ responsibility to teach reading, but your assistance will mean that you can work together to help your child become a better reader.
Suggestions about how you can help
Talk with your child about the book they are reading. What is it about? Do they like it? What has happened so far? What do they think will happen next? Why did the character behave in that way? Children of all abilities will benefit from this discussion as being able to decode the words does not always mean they have a good comprehension of the text as a whole.
With younger and less able readers, talk about the pictures. Pictures help children to understand the words. With older and more able readers, discuss the characters and the words and phrases used by the author. If there is new vocabulary or a more challenging word, check your child understands the meaning of it. If not, explain what it means and get them to practise using it in a sentence.
When your child doesn’t know how to say a word, ask him or her to try to use their phonetic (sounds) knowledge and blend it. Ask what word might make sense in the context of the sentence. If they are struggling, tell them what the word is and try to revisit the word again later.
If a child misreads a word, stop him or her and say the correct word – although if it is a word which makes no difference to the meaning (for example ‘home’ instead of ‘house’ or ‘water’ instead of ‘sea’), it is usually best to ignore it.
Use lots of praise and encouragement, and avoid criticism. It is important that your child becomes more confident and reading together should never be a negative experience. To help with the understanding and model good reading, you could share a book by completing a page each. This often helps with the flow and enjoyment of the text.
Choose a suitable time (not when there are distractions such as a favourite TV programme on!). Make full use of the time available. As a guide, try to hear your child read – or talk to them about their reading – for about 20 minutes each day.
The school will focus on developing confident, fluent readers. The Reading Plus program has been launched throughout school with the specific focus on improving reading fluency, increasing the words per minute that our children are able to read, whilst also covering the eight key comprehension domains. This program is tailored to each child’s individual needs and capabilities. You can help with this by encouraging your child to log in at home and read an extract each day as part of their homework.
A Love of Reading
Thank you for hearing your child read at home. As well as developing a love of reading, you are also helping your child become a better reader, and spending quality time with them to share and enjoy a diverse range of texts. These skills and memories will last a lifetime!