Supporting your child as a reader
Ways to support your child with reading
At All Saints C of E Primary School we believe reading should be an enjoyable experience, interesting, valued, pitched at the appropriate level and discussed to support comprehension and speaking skills.
Sharing a book is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your child. You can discuss things that you like about a book and see if your views differ to those of your child, link experiences in stories to things that may be happening in your lives or experiences you have had. It also helps you check whether your child understands what he is reading. This is crucial in developing the ability to read for meaning. Being able to read the words fluently and not understanding what is happening or the meaning of words, does not always build a successful reader in the future.
Tips for when you’re helping your child read:
- Discuss the front cover and the images on it.
- Encourage your child to make a prediction about the possible storyline.
- Actively listen and discuss events as they happen – seizing the moment often helps children talk confidently as they go, rather than waiting till the end of the book.
- Do not correct every word if your child makes a slight mistake – intervening by saying ‘you read it like this’, or ‘I would read it like this - shall we check the letters in the words and see who is right?’. It often builds confidence in children when we pretend to read a word incorrectly so that they can correct us. This also shows them it is alright to make mistakes.
When you’re helping your child read a tricky or new word, think about asking the following questions:
- Which letter phonemes do you recognise? Think about the sounds the letters make!
- Can you blend them together?
- Does the word make sense?
- Do the pictures help you work out what the word is?
- Read the sentence again to check.
- Is there another word that would make sense?
- Is it a word you know?
- Have you read the word before? Does it rhyme with other words you know e.g. snow, glow or coat, boat?
- Is it on another page?
- Are there any bits of the word you recognise?
- Miss out the word, say ‘mmmm’, finish the sentence. Then go back and work out what the word in ‘mmmm’ is.
- In a rhyming book, think of a word that rhymes.
- Use the first 1 or 2 sounds with another strategy
- Always go back and read the sentence again!
- Does the word make sense in that sentence?
Choosing when to read with your child is crucial in remembering and valuing these ideas. If your child is tired, just had an argument with their sibling or in the middle of doing something they really enjoy, may not be the best time to read! Likewise, when reading with your child who is finding it particularly challenging on that day, it is sometimes better to leave it until later or the next day. This avoids making reading a stressful experience for both of you.
If your child is making sense of the text, this does not matter e.g. "house" instead of "home", "Good dog, Spot" instead of "Good boy, Spot". It would matter, however, if your child had read: "He got on his house and rode away", as this would have changed the meaning. Always be ready to take over if your child is struggling. With your help your child will succeed and will want to read more and more as a result.
Even if your child can read fluently, it is important that you still read with him/her to ensure he/she understands what is happening in the text. Using questions beginning with – Who, Where, When, What and Why? (part of our narrative language strategies) are good ways to check that your child is reading for meaning.
It is vital that reading is a pleasurable experience! Reading helps develop and broaden your child’s vocabulary and experiences of different styles of writing which directly supports his/her development as a writer.
Ways to support a confident reader
Confident readers have reached the stage where they no longer wish to read to an adult and want to read silently to themselves. The interaction between you and your child changes at this stage. To ensure that your child's reading development continues to move forward, we would encourage you to question your child about what he/she is reading, at an appropriate time, in order to extend his/her reading and so share in the enjoyment of the book. Checking the understanding of unfamiliar vocabulary is a crucial role you can play when your child is reading more challenging texts. The following questions will provide ideas that you can extend to suit individual needs:
Questions to ask
- What is the title of the book?
- What kind of book is it? (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short story etc.)
- Who is the author/illustrator?
- Have you read any other books by the same author?
- What made you choose this book? (Author, cover, illustration, recommendation etc.)
- Did you read the blurb before selecting the book?
- Could you tell anything about the book before you started reading it?
- What were the clues?
- Have you read this book before?
- Why have you chosen it again?
- Why has the author chosen to use a specific word? How will you use this word in your writing, speaking?
- What effect is the author trying to create?
Questions to ask before your child begins or resumes a book
- What has happened so far?
- What do you think will happen next?
- What are the clues that make you think this?
- How would you like the story to end?
- Are you involved in the story? Why?
- Where is the story set? Is there a description?
- When is the story set? (Past, present, future?)
- Who are the characters in the story?
- Who do you like/dislike? Why?
- Do you feel similar to any of the characters?
- Tell me what is similar?
Questions to ask when your child has finished reading a book
- Was the book as you expected?
- Was there anything you disliked about the story?
- At what point did you decide you liked/disliked the story?
- If you have read this book before, did you enjoy it more this time?
- Did you notice anything special about the way language is used in this book? (dialect, descriptive writing etc.)
- If you had written this book, how would you have made it better?
- Has anything that happens in this book ever happened to you?
- Can you describe an exciting moment or favourite part of the story?
- Is the story straightforward?
- Is there more than one story happening at the same time?
- Who was telling the story?
- Was this the most important character in the story?
- Do we get to know the characters quickly or do they build up slowly through the book?
- Was the ending as you expected?
- Did you like the way the story ended?
- Do you like the illustrations? Do you have a favourite one?
- Would you recommend this book to your friends? Tell me what you would say to a friend?
What do I do if my child doesn’t want to read at home?
We would like all of our children to enjoy reading rather than see it as an effort/ hard work/ something they don’t enjoy! If your child doesn’t want to read, try some of the suggestions below:
- Model being a reader yourself (If you read at home it is more likely that your child will want to)
- Try to avoid confrontation
- Offer alternative reading material, e.g. internet access, Kindle, magazines, non-fiction, newspapers, etc.
- Encourage reading at different times of the day or week
- Buy/borrow books on CD from the local library and then you can listen whilst in the car or before bedtime
- Share reading activities and interact with the text together
- Share the problem with your child’s teacher, we are here to help!
Comments to write in your child’s reading record (the red booklet)
It is important for your child to take his/her reading record home each evening and then to bring it back into school every day. It is an expectation that children at All Saints read at least three times a week and that they get their reading record signed by an adult at home. When you are signing the reading record, you are encouraged to also write a comment about how your child read. If you have asked him/her some questions then you may record the answer down in the reading record. The records are checked by adults in school and they really help us to track the amount of reading practice each child is receiving each week.
We really do appreciate every bit of reading practice you are able to give your child at home.
Some useful websites for you to support reading practice at home:
www.jollylearning.co.uk - Jolly Phonics
www.parentlink.co.uk - contains ideas to help at home
www.bbc.co.uk - school section (words and pictures for phonic activities)