Reading at home
Why is it important for your child to read at home?
Sharing stories, talking and singing every day helps your child’s development in many ways.
Reading and sharing stories can:
- Help your child get to know sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills
- Learn to value books and stories
- Spark your child’s imagination and stimulate curiosity
- Help develop your child’s brain, ability to focus, concentration, social skills and communication skills
- Help your child learn about the world, their own culture and other cultures.
How to read a story to your child
If you can find the time beforehand, read the read-aloud book to yourself first, so you can think about how you’re going to read it to your child.
On the first reading:
• Make reading aloud feel like a treat. Make it a special quiet time and cuddle up so you can both see the book.
• Show curiosity about what you’re going to read: ‘This book looks interesting. It’s about an angry child. I wonder how angry he gets…’
• Read through the whole story the first time without stopping too much. Let the story weave its own magic.
• Read with enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it, your child won’t. Read favourite stories over and over again. On later readings:
• Let your child pause, think about and comment on the pictures.
• If you think your child did not understand something, try to explain: ‘Oh! I think what’s happening here is that…’
• Chat about the story and pictures: ‘I wonder why she did that?’; ‘Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…’; ‘I wouldn’t have done that, would you?’
• Link the stories to your own family experiences: ‘This reminds me of when …’
• Link stories to others that your child knows: ‘Ah! Do you remember the dragon in ….? Do you remember what happened to him?’
• Encourage your child to join in with the bits they know.
•Avoid asking questions to test what your child remembers.
• Avoid telling children that reading stories is good for them.
Questions you can ask when reading
Before reading the book:
- Can you point to the title? Or what is this (pointing at the title)
- What do you think this story is about? What might happen in the story?
- What do we call the writing on the back of the book? (Blurb)
- What does the blurb tell us?
While reading the book:
- What is happening in the pictures?
- What has happened so far?
- Is that what you expected to happen?
- What might happen next?
- How do you think the story might end?
- What sort of character is …. ?
- Is she/he friendly/mean/nice… ?
At the end of the book:
- Did you like this book? Why? (encourage children to develop an opinion about books by encouraging them to explain their reasons)
- What was your favourite part? Why?
- What was the most interesting/exciting part of the book? Can you Find it?
- What sort of character was…?
- What happened in the story?
It is helpful if you
- Say go back and try that again…’Fred Talk’ it to help you.
- Let your child read the book again so they become more fluent and their reading sounds like talking
- Talk lots about the book
- Read to your child as well as listen to them read – make reading fun
Things that are unhelpful
- Don’t ask your child to ‘Fred-Talk’ (sound out) all of the words - remember some can’t be sounded out (to, the, said, was)
- Don’t Tell them they should know a word – help them work it out together