ENGLISH - Ten Tips on Helping Your Child Read

As parents you are your child’s most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child develop their reading.

Here are some suggestions on how you can help continue to make this a positive experience.

Get them to choose a quiet time.

Make sure your child sets aside a quiet time with no distractions - at least 20 minutes every day.

Make reading enjoyable.

Make reading an enjoyable experience.  Try not to pressurise your child if they are reluctant.  If he/she loses interest in a book, encourage them to choose another.

Let them see you read.

If you regularly read in front of your child, you will be providing them with the best kind of encouragement - readers make readers.

Be positive.

Boost your child’s confidence with praise for reading achievements (i.e. they have just finished the Harry Potter series).  Praise children about their reading whenever you can.  ‘Well done, you’ve finished the whole chapter’ is much better than ‘You’re not going out to play until you’ve finished that chapter’.

Success is the key.

Encourage your child to read books within their ability; reading books that are beyond their ability will demoralise and discourage them. Remember ‘Nothing succeeds like success’. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless; flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.

Visit the library.

Help your child join the local library.  Make sure they know how to use it and encourage them to go regularly.

Regular practice.

Ensure your child reads on every school day.  ‘Little and often’ is best…

Variety is important.

Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g., comics, magazines, poems, newspapers, online texts, fiction and non-fiction books. If your child is a reluctant reader you may find that books for older children with illustrations such as pictures and cartoons will interest them.

Talk to your child about what they are reading, have conversations and swap ideas.

There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately.  Just as important is being able to understand what has been read.  Talk to your child about the book; about the characters, how they think the story will end and their favourite part.  You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills. Even though children may prefer to read for themselves, parents can be supportive by showing an interest in their children’s reading.  Try questions such as: ‘What are you reading at the moment?’, ‘Are you enjoying it?’, ‘Have you read any more by that author?’, and ‘Do you think I’d like it?’

Communicate with the school.

Your child will have a Reading Journal from school (see separate page about your child's Reading Journal).  Please take the time to sign this every day, indicating that you have seen you child read. This helps you and your child’s teacher to monitor their completion of homework (a reading homework is set every week for every KS3 class). Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.

Remember - Your child should aim to read for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.