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Ways to Help Your Child Read

Updated on May 21, 2013
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No matter how good the teaching is at school, there is always something you can do as a parent to help with your child's education.

Here are some things that you can do to help your child learn to read.

Read to Your Child Every Day

Get into the habit of reading with your little one every day. Regularly reading out loud will help your child improve their vocabulary and their ability to understand texts.

Set aside a regular time. A quiet time with no distractions. Just before bed is good, but whenever you choose, you should aim to make reading a part of your daily routine.

It's also a good idea to have a family reading time. This could be a time when everybody in the family reads. If your child sees their parents reading, they are more likely to follow by example.

Surround Your Child with Words

Have lots of books In your home. Children with lots of things to read in their home do better at school. You don't need to have story books, you can have non-fiction books which are full of information about the world.

Go to the library. While it is always nice for a child to have their own books on a shelf at home, it is great to borrow books from a library too. Libraries are magical places where children can discover all kinds of new, exciting things to read.

Be varied in what you read. Variety is important when it comes to reading. As well as books, magazines and comics can entice your child into a world of reading.

Read everywhere you go. There are lots of things you can read together whenever you head out to the outside world. You can read menus, road signs, food packets, posters, leaflets. Words are everywhere.

Always have something to read. Keep a small book in your pocket which you can pull out and read together whenever you find yourself waiting for something.

Talk about Books

It's important that your child understands what's going on. Talking about the story, as well as just reading it will help them with their comprehension skills.

  • Talk about the book's cover and the pictures inside.
  • Discuss the characters in the story. What does your child think of them?
  • Get your child to predict how they think the story will end.
  • Compare events in the story to events which have happened in the child's own life.
  • Ask your child what they liked best about the story.

Play Games with Your Child to Help Them Learn to Read

As well as books, you can use card and computer games to help your child develop their reading skills.

You can use flashcards to help your child learn with phonics. Phoneme cards can be used to introduce the sounds of each letter. Show a card to your child, say the sound and let your child repeat.

A game like What's Gnu teaches word recognition and reading. It is suitable for children aged between five and eight. For older children, Word for Word Phonics Game is a fun, fast-paced game to get your little one word-building. It will help them with their reading.

Track Your Child's Reading Progress

  • Record what progress your child is making. Talk to teachers or do a little research to find out what skills your child should have for their age.
  • Don't rush your child. Don't push your child to move on to more difficult books before they are ready. Move at a speed which is appropriate for your child.
  • Watch out for problems. Can your child sound out words, read words by sight and use context to identify unknown words? If you notice difficulties, get help for child's reading.

Be Positive and Make Reading Fun

It's important that you remain positive while helping your child learn to read. Encourage them as much as you can. How you behave towards them has a great effect on how well they progress as readers. You should always be positive and praise your child to increase their confidence.

Don't expect your child to be perfect. If they read something incorrectly, that's not a problem. Don't tell them that they did something wrong, instead just say, 'Let's read it together.' Point to the words as you model them correctly for your child.

Above all, reading should be fun. Try not to force them to read if they are not in the mood. If your child happens to lose interesting during a reading session, you can always do something else. They will want to come back to it later. With your encouragement, they will learn that reading can be a fun activity.

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