Reading with your child is vitual. Research shows that it's the single most important thing you can do to help your child's education. Here are some ways you can help.
It's best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for it every day. Try to create a relaxed reading atmosphere. Establish a regular time and place to read and ensure the surroundings are as calm as possible. If your child doesn't feel like reading, offer to read to them instead. Be positive about reading!
Think of ways to make reading fun - you want your child to learn how pleasurable books can be. If you're both enjoying talking about the content of a particular page, linger over it for as long as you like.
Books aren't just about reading the words on the page, they can also present new ideas and topics for you and your child to discuss.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make this a positive experience.
1. Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most School days. 'Little and often' is best. What you do at home really maximises what the staff do in School. If you can read to your child every night, even if it's only a couple of pages, it will really help your child make progress. Sometimes it's the last thing you feel like doing in the evening, but this probably the most important way you can help you child get into reading. Moreover - they love it!
2. Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
3. Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to 'sound out' words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than 'alphabet names'.
4. Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with, that is fine. Don't say 'No, that's wrong,' but 'let's read it together' and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child's confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
5. Success is the key
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Remember; 'nothing succeeds like success'. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier book. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
6. Visit the Library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
Your child will have a reading diary in KS1. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
8. Talk about the books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures; the characters; how they think the story will end and their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
9. Variety is important
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems and information books.
10. 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 a lovely quiet time.
11. Cut out interesting articles from the newspaper that would interest your child - funny or serious - football, animals, local people or places they know. Read them out loud, pointing to the words. Pursue any discussion that follows - this is a great vocabulary builder.
12. Play word games on the go
In the car, restaurants, waiting rooms ..... play I spy; word association (first word you think of when I say 'cat'); make a sentence using each letter in turn of the car registration plate in front.
13. Talk with your child's teacher
If you are concerned that your child is not reading as competently as you would expect, discuss this with their teacher.