Tips and Tricks for Reading

How to engage your student at home

Fun Activities for Reading at Home

Fun activities to do at home:

  • Magnetic letters or words on refrigerators to compose sentences, poems, ask questions, etc.

  • Play scrabble and leave it unfinished on a table so anyone in your family can continue to build words - like a puzzle that sits in a corner and every few days you do a little more

  • Build a reading fort with pillows and books and magazines

  • Have a chalkboard wall in a room

  • Make placemats or tablecloths with book titles of favorite books

  • Read with your child - sit on the left and s/he sits on the right and take turns reading aloud the page in front of you - “Mom reads the left page, and son reads the right page”

  • Read to a pet, keep a basket of books and magazines in the car, in the bathroom, etc.

  • Set a time for reading as a family - everyone is reading something in the same room, at the same time

  • Use your devices and get downloadable books, audio books, subscribe to, kindle books, etc.

  • Join book club

  • Join an online community like Goodreads

  • Go to family literacy nights and implement the ideas at home
  • Visit a library!!

Talking about Reading


  1. Just ask about the book. Have them tell you what is happening/why they like it.
  2. Share what you are reading, what is happening and why you like it.
  3. Don't talk about reading level with them while they are sharing about a book- all reading counts!
  4. If they aren't reading, help them find something they want to read

If you want to have a deeper discussion about a book, these are some of the types of questions a teacher might ask in a school setting. Don't use this as a checklist that they have to answer about a particular book, but an awareness of the type of questions Intermediate students are learning to answer as they read.

During Reading

  • What is the main character’s point of view towards the main event(s) in the book?

  • What could the character(s) do to solve the story’s problems?

  • How are the supporting characters important to the story?

  • What traits describe the main character? Why do you choose these traits?

  • Is the story told from more than one perspective? If so, how are the perspectives different from one another?

  • What are the relationships between the characters like? Do you predict these relationships will stay the same or change? Why do you think this?

After Reading

  • Are there any symbols in the story? What are they, and what is their true meaning?

  • What lesson(s) does this book teach you?

  • How could the lesson(s) in the book apply to your life?

  • How does the author structure the events in the book?

  • What connections do you see with your life and the book?

Parent Perspective: Tips and Tricks

  • As parents, we are our child’s first teacher. Lead by example - let your children see you reading.
  • Make reading a priority and a habit. Whether it is reading before bed or at the breakfast table, try to read daily.
  • Read with your child at all ages. You are never too old for a good read aloud. They can be a wonderful conversation starter.
  • Read the same chapter book as your child so you can have your own book talk.
  • Keep books in the car.
  • Listen to audiobooks in the car. Try out a variety of titles.
  • Start some family traditions centered on literature. Give your child a book on their birthday or a holiday.
  • Take advantage of community resources. Start with the school librarians. They have a wealth of knowledge and can give you helpful suggestions. VCS Media Centers have a wonderful collection of titles and formats.
  • Victor Farmington Library – our public library may look small, but they have a wide selection and a range of programs for all ages. Check out their website for after-school and summer activities. Once you register for a library card, you have access to over 40 libraries in the OWWL system.
  • Check out area libraries. They all have a variety of titles and activities. Phelps also has a ‘makerspace’, Canandaigua lets you borrow fishing equipment.
  • Little Free Libraries – the little houses with used books in area neighborhoods and Farmington Tops. Grab a book to read and donate ones you have read. (The one at Tops is nice for keeping children entertained while grocery shopping. You can even build one for your neighborhood.
  • Attend local book festivals. Rochester Children’s Book Festival in November and Rochester Teen Book Fest in May. They are wonderful opportunities to learn about the process of creating literature and meet the real people behind your favorite books.