This page is to help you at home listen, develop and encourage your child’s reading. Nothing can replace personal contact, so if there is anything else you want to know or discuss, please don’t hesitate to ask one of your class teacher.
One way in which children get better at reading is through lots of practice. By hearing children read at home, you can help them practise and improve. As you get more experienced, you will find more ways of helping children with their reading. But the main thing you will be doing is giving them more opportunity to practise by reading aloud to an adult.
You will also be helping the class teacher by sharing some of the responsibilities and giving the teacher a chance to concentrate their attention where it is most needed.
It is the teachers’ responsibility to teach reading, but your assistance will mean that you can work together to help children become better readers.
Your child may be:-
- a beginning reader – a young child who is in the early stages of learning to read.
- a developing reader – a child who has already learned the basics of reading
- a struggling reader – a child who is finding it difficult to learn to read
- a fluent reader – a child who can read well for his age.
Your approach to hearing your child read will depend on his age and ability.
Talk with children 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?
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.
When a child doesn’t know a word, ask him or her to try it and then tell the child what it is. Only get involved in ‘word-building’ if the teacher has asked you to do this.
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 the children become more confident with reading.
Choose a suitable time (not when there are distractions such as a favourite TV programme on!) Make full use of the time available. Hear children read – or talk to them about their reading – for as long as possible. This gives them extra practice and children often become more fluent if they read for longer than two or three minutes. But don’t make children read for longer than they can keep their interest and attention on the task.
The school will keep records of children’s progress in reading. Often there is a home/school booklet or card for parents and teachers to record progress. You can help with this by making notes when you hear your child read. These notes might include the date, the title and author of the book, how long the reading lasted, how many pages were read and a brief comment about how the child got on.
Thank you for hearing your child read at home.
By assisting the teachers you are helping children become better readers.