Help your child become a better reader

Posted : 30 August 2017

By Mrs Sophia Jones – Head of Learning Support and Enrichment

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! by Dr Seuss

Reading is an essential skill for your child’s success at school. Learning to read is a sequential process where each new skill builds on one previously learned. It begins with decoding and leads to understanding and comprehension of text.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Author Emilie Buchwald.

Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children, and reading with your child is not only one of the best ways to give them a love for reading, but also allows for special one-on-one time.

The following suggestions are some ways you can help your child become a better reader and develop a life-long love of reading:

  • Make reading ‘special’ by using books as rewards or gifts,
  • Set aside a time of day as ‘storytime’. Just before bed usually works best for families, but choose a time that works well for yours.
  • Give your child their own library card. This gives them ownership of their reading.
  • Set a good example by reading books yourself, and tell your child how much you enjoy reading and why.
  • Ensure books are visible and accessible in your home to highlight their importance.
  • Children love repetition and anticipation. Reading the same story 50 times is actually beneficial for your young reader! Follow the text with your finger, you’ll be surprised how fast they start to recognise repeated words. This also teaches them that text is read from left to right.
  • Make it a fun activity. Take turns reading and use different voices for different characters.
  • Ask your reader to tell you what they think the story is about by looking at the cover, or ask them to guess what might happen next at different points of the story.
  • Answer their questions, even if they do disrupt the flow of the story.

Reading has a very important place in today’s tech savvy world. It enhances knowledge and teaches new vocabulary. Reading illustrates different worlds and contexts. It teaches patience, rather than instant gratification, and stimulates imagination. A good reader is usually a good writer, which is another important skill for your child at school. To read a lot and read often is perhaps the most important way to help your child succeed at school.

In Kindergarten to Year 2, children learn to read, and then from Year 3 onwards the focus shifts to reading to learn. Therefore, it is important to recognise and address any problems in the reading process early on as most children with reading disabilities can learn to read well and learn strategies that will help them succeed at school.

Reading and literacy intervention programs are run at Penrith Anglican College to support students experiencing reading difficulties. Contact your child’s classroom teacher or the Head of Learning Support if you have concerns regarding your child’s reading skills.