Reading with your child – Top tips

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Hi and welcome to another Friday blog.

I don’t know about you but I find getting my 7 year old son to read can be a bit of a struggle. He would come up with many excuses ” mum, I’ve already read it”, “If I watch my cartoon first , I’ll read my book later” and my favorite ” I’m really tired and my eyeball hurt, I can read it tomorrow”.

So it is nice to get expert advice from Anne Davis, a Reading Coordinator, on how to make the experience enjoyable for the family, so here are her top tips. I know I shall be using them on my own son

Enjoy and until next time.

Reading with your child – Top tips.

  1. Choose a quiet time without distractions (turn off the TV).Talk about the books. There is more to being a reader than just being able to read the words. TALK about the book; about the pictures and the characters. ASK what they think the book is about or how it might end. This will help to develop comprehension skills.
  2. Make it enjoyable. Try not to get anxious or worried. Try not to pressure your child if he or she is reluctant. Always try to end your session on a positive note – either by talking about the pictures or you could finish the story. Lots of positive comments and feedback.  Smile and be calm.  If you are frustrated, image how they feel.  Remember it will get easier.  Reward the reading at the end of each week.
  3. Keep it smooth. Try not to interrupt immediately if your child makes a mistake. Allow time for them to self-correct. You may need to tell your child a difficult word. This is better than letting them struggle and lose the meaning or trying to sound out without success. If your child does sound out try to encourage the use of letter sounds rather than alphabet names.
  4. Be positive. Try to encourage almost right responses. Try not to say ‘NO. That is wrong’ but rather ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Use praise to boost their confidence.
  5. The books your child reads do not have to be hard. There is nothing to be gained from struggling with a book in which your child will make lots of mistakes or meet lots of unknown words. It is better to build confidence through reading a slightly ‘easier’ book.  There is nothing wrong with re-reading old favorites. It is all good practice.
  6. Little and often. Try to make a regular time which becomes a habit and keep it fairly short. 10 – 15 minutes is usually long enough.
  7. Keep it interesting. Try to find things which you can share and enjoy as well as the reading books from school. What is your child interested in? Do you look at comics; poems; information books? Can your child help you to read the shopping list?
  8. Visit the library. Join if you need to. Make it your friend.
  9. Read to your child .Choose a quiet time without distractions (turn off the TV). every night, even if it’s only a couple of pages.  Sometimes it’s the last thing you feel like in the evening, but this is probably the most important way you can help your child get into reading.  And they love it!
  10. Follow the words with your finger or corner of a bookmark as you read.  Over time you can deliberately not say a word and the child says it.  Pick easy words, just to check they are following.  Or even say the wrong word, and the child will correct you.  Then the child can read a sentence on each page, and build up to a paragraph.  But remember, you reading to your child is their treat so do not overdo the testing.
  11. Read your books and magazines while your children read.  Children learn by copying, whether consciously or subconsciously.  So you should try to read.  Curl up on the sofa with the paper, a magazine or a book and encourage your child to do the same with their book, even just for five or ten minutes.  Try to make this part of your routine.  This is lovely quiet time.Have fun.