How can I help my child with reading?

Remember, the most important thing is that both you and your child choose books you enjoy reading.

  • You are not alone. Talk to your child’s teacher about what is being done at school and how you can support this at home.
  • Encourage your child – but make it fun! Reading should always be enjoyable.  Encourage your child to choose their own books to borrow from the library. You can also books that you would like to read.
  • Create a literacy rich environment. Make sure books are where children can easily reach them. Have an alphabet chart and talk about letters and the sounds they make. Label things around the house, like toy boxes e.g. blocks, dolls, cars (you can make labels on the computer and use a clip art picture as a ‘clue’).
  • Read, read, read! Follow the text with your finger when you are reading.  When you are doing this you are helping  your child to learn some reading basics: that print works from left to right, that words are separated by spaces (e.g. "word – space – word – space"), that words make up the sentences of a story.
  • Have space where children can play with words - reading and writing go hand in hand. Set up a writing table, keep some scrap paper around for your child to practice writing, have magnetic letters on the fridge or a let them play with a blackboard.
  • Rhyme is very important. You can sing nursery rhymes and songs with your child, read rhyming books, encourage your child to predict rhyming words (eg. the cat sat on the...), or you can make up nonsense rhymes of your own.
  • While reading encourage your child to recognise tricky words that appear a lot such as the, was, when.
     
  • Talk about the sounds that words begin with. Use alliteration to encourage understanding of beginning sounds e.g. ‘I’m going to make some squishy, squashy sausage sandwiches’. Play ‘I spy’, ask children to think of words  ‘I need to go and buy something starting with "m" from the shop – what could it be?’ Note: It is important to use the letter sound rather than the letter name when playing these games.
     
  • Use the computer! The State Library of Western Australia has wonderful online games and tools that are free for all library users. TumbleBooksBusythings and Literacy Planet can all be accessed from home and are great tools for early literacy development.

Looking for more?

Watch this video featuring reading suggestions with Mary G.

We also recommend the tips on the Raising Children Network. The Network has current, authoritative information about parenting from newborns to teens. It's worth a look.

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As a teacher of over 30 years, I have witnessed the Better Beginnings program helping to transform children’s lives and given them greater potential to grow, learn and develop, perform well at school and succeed in later life.
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