One question that parents frequently have is how they can work with their children at home to help them build a foundation for reading. The answer to this question varies depending on your child’s reading stage. You may find that activities in one area below may be best for your child, or you may find ideas that work in all of the sections. The most important thing is to follow your child’s lead; if she loses interest in a book or becomes frustrated, move on to something else. Time with a book should be a cherished and fun activity.
- As you read, discuss what is happening in the book. Make predictions, ask questions, and talk about the illustrations.
- Have a family reading time where everyone reads or looks at their own books. Children model what they see, so make sure you are a reader too!
- Read, read, and reread those favorite books over and over again. Children can take great comfort in a familiar story and will begin to learn the patterns of books as they become more familiar with them.
- Read different types of books to your child including nonfiction, story collections, and poetry.
- Point out words while you are out. There are opportunities to read everywhere!
- Take a “picture walk,” looking through the pictures of the book before reading and have your child make predictions about what they think will happen. This exercise makes children active participants in the story.
- Echo read with your child. You read a sentence or phrase, pointing to each word as you read, then your child repeats, also pointing to the words.
- Listen to audio books while following along with the text.
- Choose books that have tongue twisters and rhyming patterns so your child can start looking at similarities in words.
- Read several books by one author and compare/contrast them.
- Make a game of looking for certain types of words in a book: rhyming words, compound words, etc.
- Ask questions at the conclusion of stories to build comprehension skills – What was your favorite part? Have you ever felt like that? Remember the time we did something similar? Why do you think (character) did that?
- Pick books that are at the right level, so as not to be frustrating. Your child should be able to read 95% of the words without errors and be able to talk about the book when complete. Sometimes a child can fluently read the words on the page but will have a hard time retelling the story. Comprehension is just as important as fluency, so if accuracy or comprehension are too difficult or easy, adjust for next time.