Ways To Help At Home

How can I help my child with reading?

1. Talk to your kids (a lot).

Drowned your children in language.  From when they are just infants, talk to them, sing with them, rhyme with them, change your voice and watch as they absorb it all in with just their eyes.   Reading is a language activity, and if you want to learn language, you  need to hear it, and eventually, speak it. 

2. Read to your kids.

Read, read, read to your children!  Reading a book or story to a child is a great, easy way to advance literacy skills.  Reading to kids exposes them to richer vocabulary than they usually hear from the adults who speak to them, and can have positive impacts on their language, intelligence, and later literacy achievement. 

3. Teach phonemic awareness.

Young children don’t hear the sounds within words. Thus, they hear “dog,” but not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh.” To become readers, they have to learn to hear these sounds (or phonemes). Play language games with your child. For instance, say a word, perhaps her name, and then change it by one phoneme: Jen-Pen, Jen-Hen, Jen-Men. Or, just break a word apart: chair… ch-ch-ch-air. Follow this link to learn more about 

4. Teach phonics (letter names and their sounds).

You can’t sound out words or write them without knowing the letter sounds. Most kindergartens teach the letters, and parents can teach them, too. Use ABC books, charts, cards, blocks, magnet letters, floor mats, puzzles, bed sheets, and programs for tablets and computers. You don’t need all of that (a pencil and paper are sufficient), but there is lots of support out there for parents to help kids learn these skills. Keep the learning brief and fun, no more than 5–10 minutes. 

5. Listen to your child read.

When your child starts bringing books home from school, have him/her read to you. If it doesn’t sound good (mistakes, choppy reading), have them read it again. Or read it to them, and then have them try to read it again. Studies show that this kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it is done at home.

6. Promote writing.

Literacy involves reading and writing. Having books and magazines available for your child is a good idea, but it’s also helpful to have pencils, crayons, markers, and paper. Encourage your child to write. One way to do this is to write notes or short letters to them. It won’t be long before they are trying to write back to you.

7. Ask questions.

When your child reads, sop a few times to ask questions.  If it’s a story, ask who it was about and what happened. If it’s an informational text, have your child explain what it was about and how it worked, or what its parts were. Reading involves not just sounding out words, but thinking about and remembering ideas and events.

8. Make reading a regular activity in your home.

Make reading a part of your daily life, and kids will learn to love it.  Make them a lifelong reader. Set aside some time when everyone turns off the TV and the web and does nothing but read. 

9. Be an example - pick up a book each day.

Having your children see you as a reader will have a huge influence on their feelings about reading.