7 Strategies to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader
- Ask Questions Before Reading:
- “What do you think this book will be about?”
- “What do you think will happen to the character on the cover?”
- “What does the title mean?”
- “Why do you think the author chose that title?”
- Ask Questions During Reading:
- “Why does that boy look sad?”
- “What is the mom looking for?”
- “What does ‘endangered’ mean?”
- “Where is the dog going?”
- Make Predictions:
- “What do you think will happen next?”
- “Why do you think that will happen?”
- “Let’s read on and see if your prediction is correct!”
- Make Connections to Your Own Lives:
- “That reminds me of...”
- “That looks like...”
- “Do you remember when...”
- Make Connections to Other Books:
- “This is like when we read...”
- “This book is like...”
- “Remember when... happened in...”
- Visualize and Create Sensory Images:
- Close your eyes and picture it in your head. Can you see it?
- Imagine it. Can you see all of the beautiful colours?
- What does it smell like?
- Imagine how loud it is? What can you hear?
- What wold you feel?
- Reflect on The Books:
- Did you like this book or not? What makes you say that?
- Tell me about the book.
- What happened?
- What was your favourite part?
- Who else might like this book?
- Should we read other books by this author?
What Does The Research Say?
Current research in reading reveals that when parents engage in teaching their children about reading skills, the children make significant progress in those skills.
By helping parents engage their children in home literacy events that are directly related to their work in school, parents and children are more likely to perceive the activities as making a difference and also more likely to directly experience the difference.
When teachers provide parents with the explanations and support they need to follow through with literacy activities and events, parents are more likely to develop the knowledge and skills that will support development and perception of themselves as partners in their child’s learning. (Hindin & Paratore, 2014)
Common Ways Children Learn To Read
Every child learns to read in their own way. In their book, From Your Child’s Teacher, Bright, McMullin and Platt discuss some of the common strategies that school age children are taught to use are:
- Sight Words. Many classrooms teach children sight words. These are highly recognizable, frequent words that students memorize in order to improve fluency.
- Phonics. Many children learn to read by sounding words out.They learn and understand that letters have sounds and sounds can be put together to make words. This is an important skill for all children to understand as it will also contribute to writing success.
- Making Sense. Children who use this strategy usually use sight word knowledge and phonic knowledge to support making sense. Children will try to read unfamiliar words and if they are unable to use phonic knowledge or sight word knowledge, they try to make sense of the story to decode the new word.
- Memorization. Children memorize familiar stories and ‘read’ them. This can be an essential method to getting some children started down the road to reading.
Successful readers use a combination of strategies when learning to read. If one doesn’t work, children wintry a different method as long as they have the knowledge of multiple strategies. Exposing students to more than one way to make sense of words and sentences is essential. (Bright, McMullin, & Platt, 1998)
How To Read With Your Child
Most children will participate in a variety of home reading programs during their time in school. Here are suggestions to support you, the parent, support during reading!
- Sit side by side, with the book in the middle, so you can both see the whole book.
- Take turns reading with your child. They read a page to you, then you read a page to them.
- Help your child follow along by having them point to each word as they read or place a card under the line they are reading.
- Remind your child to look at the pictures for clues, especially when they come to a word they don’t know. Tell them if the word can be seen in the picture!
- Play word games like Word Wizard. Call out a word on the page and have your child point to it as quickly as they can.
- Have your child practice printing some of their favourite words from the book. Or write simple sentences about what was read.
- Write the sentences from the story on cards, mix up the cards and have your child sequence the story.
If your child is stuck on a word:
- Wait three or four seconds, then encourage them to sound the word out.
- If they sound out each sound but still can’t read the word have them look at the picture to see if that helps.
- Have the child reread the sentence and stop before the unfamiliar word. if this doesn't help skip the word and read onto the end of the sentence. If that doesn't help, tell them the word!