Reading at Home
Taking an active interest in your child’s learning is one of the best ways you can help your child to do better in school and in life. Learning is not just about what happens in school. Children are learning all the time through what they see, hear and do. Research proves that a good reading ability aids success not just in school but also in later life!
- Remember: a good 10 minutes is much better than a difficult half hour!
- It helps to plan a quality, quiet time to read together that happens at a similar time each day if you can make it part of a routine it will be easier to keep it going.
- If you are unsure or you want some extra help then all you have to do is speak to your child’s class teacher who will be happy to help.
- Children will be given reading books from a range of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Rigby Star and Pearson.
How Reading Develops
In school children are taught a range of strategies from 'Letters and Sounds' they can use to help them work out unknown words. For example:
- Phonics - If they can sound the word out using the phonics they know then encourage this as the first way of reading the word
- Using the picture as a clue (this is not cheating!)
- Using picture clues along with the first letter in the word
- Predicting what the word could be from the context it is in i.e. working out what word makes sense in that sentence.
As children’s reading skills develop they adopt a range of good reading behaviours. These include:
- Reading from left to right and matching each spoken word to a written one
- Recognising when they have made a mistake and correcting themselves
- Re-reading to correct and re-reading to check
- Making meaningful but not always accurate guesses
- Reading with expression i.e. changing the tone of their voice in response to what is happening in the book. Audio books are a great way of hearing good examples of this!
As children progress further they:
- Take notice of punctuation i.e. pausing at full stops
- Follow print with their eyes and begin to read without saying the words out loud
- Scan the text for information
- Read more fluently
How to read with your child
Some parents can be unsure of the correct way to help their child with reading at home below is the structure that we follow in school along with some helpful questions you could ask:
Step 1: Spend time introducing the book, do a walk through where you and your child look at the pages in the book without reading the words. This gives the child an idea about what the book is about which will help them when it comes to the actual reading. Ask questions like…
What do you think this book is about?
What do you think might happen in the story?
What can we see on the front cover?
Have we read this book before?
Step 2: Remind children of the different ways they can work out an unknown word. We always use sounding out as the first strategy but children could also look at the pictures or look at the first letter and use the rest of the sentence to work out a word that fits. (If none of these strategies work then it’s OK to tell the child the word especially if it’s a word they might not know.)
Step 3: Reading the words keep reminding children about the strategies from Step 2 if they get stuck say things like:
Can you sound the word out, start by sounding the letters and then put them together to read the word.
Look at the picture that might help you work out the word
What sound does the word begin with? Let’s read the rest of the sentence and see if we can work out what word would fit.
Step 4: Asking questions about what has been read. This is an important part of the reading session as it enables you to see if they have understood what they have read. More confident readers will also be able to answers to questions by finding evidence in the text. You might ask them to retell you the story or part of the story or ask questions about what has happened in the story.
- Remind your child to point to each word individually rather than continuously run their finger underneath if they are still learning to match one to one.
- Alternate saying well done or that was good by telling your child what was good i.e. that was great sounding out or well done you used the picture to work out what the words said
- Remember not to expect your child to work out a word that is not in their vocabulary if it’s a new word or a word they don’t know the meaning of they are less likely to be able to read them correctly.
- Reading should be an enjoyable experience so if either you or your child are getting stressed it’s better to have a positive shorter session than a longer session where it becomes a battle!
- Don’t forget to record your child’s reading in their reading records, for older children encourage them to write their own comments about their reading.