How to help your child with reading

How to help your child with reading

Children learn to read at varying rates. Some have the ability to sound out words before they start school and others take a while longer to learn the basics of reading. However competent your child is at reading, there is always something that you can do to help them improve and enjoy the experience of reading.

Here are some practical ways in which you can help your child with their reading. All of these suggestions will help them understand the building blocks of reading which include phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

Read out aloud to them

No matter how old your child is, spend time reading to them. There are numerous benefits of reading to children and it’s never too early to start. Even babies will love the sound of your voice as you read to them.

Engage your child with silly voices, actions and expression to help them understand the nuances of language. As they get older, they can follow the words as you read, which will help them to grasp the basics of phonics.

Make it fun or special

Reading is the perfect opportunity to create a bond with your child. Use it as part of your winding down bedtime routine or make it special with a snuggle on the couch on the weekend.

If children are reading aloud to you, make the situation as low stress as possible. Make sure you give them your full attention so you can help them sound out difficult words and check in with them that they are comprehending what they are reading by asking them questions.

You can also make it fun by playing games with words. Try card games that have pictures and words, use letter magnets on your fridge, play rhyming or word games in the car. The options are endless to make it fun!

Use a range of opportunities to practise

Think about ways you can weave reading into your child’s life that is different and engaging. If they like to cook, bake some cookies and have them read the recipe. If they like construction, a lego or other instruction manual is an option. If they like to ask questions, get them to research a topic online to find and read out the answer.

Make it accessible

Have books and reading material constantly around you. A pile of magazines on the table, or books in an easy to reach bookcase make it inviting for a child to want to read. Make regular trips to the library together so that you can sit an enjoy reading together and borrow some books whilst you are there so that you have a range of different books to read.

Role model reading

This is such an important but often overlooked aspect of helping your child to read. Seeing you actively engage in reading allows children to see first hand the benefits and importance of being able to read.

With any of these suggestions, try to focus on synthetic phonics rather than a whole language approach. This means avoid using guessing or relying solely on pictures to learn to read. Encourage sounding out the word as the primary method of reading, then use the pictures as a confirmation tool.

Leap into Literacy focuses on using phonics to recognise letter combinations so that your child is able to sound out a word, rather than just guess. If you would like to know more about using phonics and learning to read, book your child in for a free trial lesson with us.