Whatever the age of your child, each of these home-reading activities is important and will help them to become a confident, fluent reader, with a lifelong love of books.
Reading to your Child:
In the early stages of reading, children learn to “behave like a reader”, by copying what they see and learning how a book works. Sharing and repeating favourite stories together encourages children to join in.
As children become increasingly independent readers, don’t stop reading to them. You can model and encourage correct pronunciation, good expression and reading at the right pace.
In the early stages of reading, read the books with your child moving your finger along the line and pointing to the words so that they may follow the line of print. Discuss the pictures in the book and concentrate on the story line. Some early books have no words so you and your child can construct a story using the pictures as a guide. Draw their attention to the details in the illustrations and encourage them to predict what might happen next.
As children become increasingly independent with their reading, this discussion and prediction should continue to ensure that children are understanding what they read.
The book that you read together may contain some challenging words for your child, but not enough to dishearten them.
Listening to your child read:
Remember that little and often is best, five minute sessions are long enough, particularly for children starting out on their reading journey. Reading should only continue for longer than 10 minutes if your child insists.
Our Reception children will work towards bringing a copy of their “ditty” book home and eventually their green, purple or pink storybook. This is a book that your child can read and is brought home to reinforce the phonics and comprehension learning from their daily Read Write Inc. sessions.
During Year 1, some children will move from their RWI storybook onto the Oxford Reading Tree books. Their home-school reading book should not be ‘difficult’ to read and should be a book that the child can read independently with limited support from a parent or carer.
Once your child is making great progress with their phonics lessons and comprehension then they will move into “Free Reading”. At this point, your child will have chosen the book that they have brought home (although when first becoming a “free reader” this choice may be guided by a teacher or teaching assistant). If it appears they have read it before and enjoyed it enough to read again, that is fine. If it is too difficult or too easy, have a go at reading it together, as pleasure in reading is a strong their motivation. Your child will quickly become adept at choosing books at an appropriate level.
If your child has chosen a book which they then find is not to their liking, there is no reason they should have to finish it. An alternative choice of reading material can be made.
Never let your child stumble over a word for more than a few seconds. If they do not know a word help them to work it out using clues in the text e.g. use their phonic knowledge, look at the illustrations, read ahead to make a reasonable guess at the missing word so that the sentence makes sense in the context of the story. If your child makes a mistake, allow them to continue for a little way and correct themselves. When reading for meaning, mistakes will be obvious to them and they should go back over the text to extract the correct meaning. If they don’t notice the mistake, then prompt them to check if what they have read makes sense. Don’t correct small and unimportant mistakes, where the meaning of the text has not been altered e.g. substituting “a” for “the”. This will ensure the flow of the story is maintained.
Remember that the most lasting form of motivation is your child’s own realisation that what they are doing is enjoyable and useful to them at this moment in time. Provide children with the opportunity to read independently for their own purposes and enjoyment right from the beginning. Always make reading fun! Yes, this can include reading on tablets, comic books and magazines (variety is the spice of life!). Praise your child as much as possible and never allow anxiety or a feeling of failure to develop.
As pupils move through Key Stage 2, independent reading will take place for extended periods of time, sometimes up to half an hour! Although this is not essential.
Don’t forget to continue to share a book together as a form of quality family time. Read challenging stories to your child and enjoy exploring and discussing them together. This will give them something to aspire to in their independent reading and will allow you to be a role-model of good reading behaviour.
Your child will have a home-school reading diary. Record the nature of the reading task in here every time the child reads (older children can record this for themselves).
The reading record is really important for teachers to look at reading behaviour, attitude and progress at home and to review the different types of reading activity that the pupils are engaged in.