Reading with your child

Seaton Sluice First School

'Everyone a Reader'

Our guide to help parents and carers develop their children's reading skills


'The greatest gift you can give to children is to read to them from a very early age'

Dont worry, you don't need to be an expert to help your child enjoy reading and improve their ability.


You just need lots of patience, a little time, some affection and a few basic skills.


Above all, you need to make sure your child's reading experiences are fun and enjoyable.


Make sure you give your child the impression that you are happy that they are doing their best - always try and praise their efforts.


Choosing a book

There are no hard and fast rules for choosing a book, but here is some useful advice and guidance:

  • Where possible let the child select the book they want to read. It may be an easy read or one they are familiar with but this doesn't matter.
  • Encourage the child to go for interest and excitement rather than an exact level - you can always read the book to them.
  • If you are concerned about the level of the book, one way of selecting is to ask the child to read the first 100 words. If there are more than five words they get really stuck on then they may find the book too challenging. Don't dismiss this book, but be prepared to give lots of support or read to them.
  • Don't just encourage your child to read books. There are lots of other things such as: comics, newspapers, notes, adverts, food packaging etc.
  • When your child brings home a book from school, share it with them and encourage them to read, supporting where necessary.


Creating the right climate for success

REMEMBER...if your child enjoys their reading experience with you, it will encourage them to want to read again and again!

  • Make sure the atmosphere is happy and relaxed - this must be an experience the children look forward to.
  • Find a quiet place to sit where you can both be comfortable with as little disturbance as a busy home will allow. Snuggle up together if appropriate!
  • Turn off the TV!
  • Give your child lots of encouragement and praise, even if they are struggling with the book.
  • Talk to them about what they have read, asking what they liked about the book. Show an interest and enthusiasm for what they have read to you.


What to do when your child makes a mistake when reading

If what they have read to you makes sense, let them carry on until there is a suitable break, e.g. the end of the sentence, paragraph or page.

Say something like: "You read that really well and it made sense but look at that word. You said *****. Look at it again." Give them the chance to self correct and if they can't work it out then tell them the word.

However, if what your child has read made no sense, then stop them straight away. Say something like: "You're doing really well but that bit didn't make sense. What sort of clues can help us work out what it really says?"

Here, you might get them to sound out the word, use the context of the whole sentence (ask them to read the rest of the sentence and try and work out what the word could be) or use any picture clues there might be. If they cannot work it out in a fairly short time, say 10 seconds, then just tell them the word and ask them to look at it carefully before they read on.


How to encourage your child to figure out a word when they are stuck!

Always give your child a few seconds to have a think about the word unless it's a really unusual word or name.

Picture prompts: Ask your child to look at any pictures. Is there a clue? Ask them to close their eyes and imagine what is happening.

Decoding strategies: Ask your child to look closely at the word they are stuck on.

  • Do they know what sound it starts with (phonics)?
  • Does it look like any other word they know?
  • Can they see any smaller words inside the word?
  • Can they cover the part of the word and see if they recognise the bit that is left?
  • Are there any pairs, patterns, sets of letters they recognise?
  • Can they sound it out (using their phonic knowledge)?
  • Read the sentence again from the beginning.
  • Ask them what word would make sense or would sound right.

If they are still stuck, just tell them the word!


Helping your child understand what they are reading about

Probably the most important skill in reading is to understand what the writing is about! As the level of understanding improves so does the level of enjoyment or learning that is taking place.

When you are sharing a book, talk about the pictures and relate these to real life where possible. For instance, a picture of a dog might lead to discussion about a dog your child might actually know. Also talk about characters in the pictures and how they might be feeling or what they might be thinking.

Ask questions about the story at your child's level. Encourage them to empathise with the characters by asking questions such as: "What would you have done if you were...?" "How would you feel if...?" "Can you gues what's going to happen next?"

If you are reading a non-fiction book then ask them questions about the information read and ask them if they notice how the layout of the text is different from fiction books.


Finally...a summary of tips for successful home shared reading!

  • Make sure the atmosphere is happy and relaxed - this must be an experience your child enjoys!
  • Find a quiet place to sit where you can both be comfortable with little disturbance - turn off the TV!
  • Encourage early readers to follow the text with their finger as they read - you can model this!
  • Regularly talk about what the writing is about. Ask questions about the pictures, characters and storyline to develop understanding.
  • If a child gets stuck, follow the guidance given earlier - give them time to work out the word.
  • Give lots of praise and encouragement to your child during the time you spend together.
  • Share a book regularly for about 10-15 minutes - we ask you to do this at least five times a week.
  • As your child becomes a more confident reader, get them to try and add expression when they read aloud.
  • Let the child read books they are familiar with - it doesn't matter if they know the book well.
  • Make a note in your child's Reading Record for their class teacher to comment on how they have done.