Reading Tips for Parents

Love to read!

Reading Tips for Parents

Research shows that reading benefits children in many ways. The exposure to richer language helps them develop a better vocabulary. It also improves grammar, stimulates the imagination, improves listening skills , develops writing skill and style, and helps children make sense of the world around them as they read and make connections to what they know. Studies have also shown that children who have been read to are better able to describe events and scenes, as well as follow instructions. Even spelling skills increase as children see the same words over and over again as they read independently. And then there's the simple enjoyment of reading. . .

Reading Aloud

* Read aloud to your children until they are too old for you to 'tackle' and sit down with (late intermediate grades???). Find a comfortable place and snuggle up together so that your children's connection to books is a pleasurable experience.

* Read books that are somewhat above the current reading level of your child. This is most successful in helping to promote reading progress. Children's listening level of comprehension is higher than their reading level until they are in about grade 8.

* Discuss what you read. Ask questions (especially "Why do you think. . ." ). This will help to develop your child's reading comprehension.

* Encourage your child to make connections between what has been read and things that are happening in their own lives. It will deepen the experience for them and improve their understanding.

* If your children find it hard to sit still, give them something to keep their hands busy. This isn't supposed to seem like a punishment. Just make sure they're still listening by asking them questions, etc.

* If you feel comfortable, read dramatically by changing your voice for different characters, etc. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, don't worry about it. Just make sure you show you are enjoying the reading. Kids pick up on this.

* Let kids have a say in what you read to them. Studies have shown that the pleasurable experience of being read to can reshape negative attitudes toward reading into more positive ones. Besides, you're building memories, remember?

Listening to Your Child Read

* Keep it a positive experience! This is the most important thing you can do. Be patient.

* Schedule time on a regular basis - 15 minutes 4 or 5 days a week - so that it becomes a habit. This should help your child be less resistant if it occurs at the same time and is part of a ritual. It also gives reading status by showing its importance.

* Make sure the book is on the right level for your child - this is critical. If it's too hard, it may lead to frustration and a negative self image. You may wish to use the Five Finger approach to determine the book's suitability. As your child reads, fold down a finger for every error. If your child makes more than 5 errors on a page, the book is probably too difficult and should be put away for future reading.

* Snuggle up and make the experience a positive one.

* When your child has difficulty with a word, encourage them to 'figure it out' and allow time to do it. Supply the word, if necessary.

* Students can use their developing skills to sound phonetic words out, but this is just one strategy that shouldn't be overused. Also remind them to use meaning - skip out the word, read on and then go back to use meaning combined with the clues provided with the letters. Sentence structure is also a clue - does what you read sound right?

* Praise children for trying to figure out words and for self-correcting reading errors.

* Point out what they have done well. i.e. "You read that so well, you sounded just like you were talking" or "You used your voice to make that really interesting to listen to". This will make them feel successful and help your children remember to do it again in the future.

* Talk about the story and ask questions to develop your children's reading comprehension. Again, allow them to make connections to their own experiences.

* Even after your child becomes an independent reader, you should listen to him/her read aloud on occasion. Reading aloud is a very different skill than reading quietly to oneself.