New South Wales
If you’re having trouble getting your child engaged in reading, you’re not alone! This is not uncommon, but it is something to tackle as early as possible. Why? Because reading is ESSENTIAL to learning. Here’s how to help your reader at home.
Around Year Three, children stop ‘learning to read’ and begin to ‘read to learn’. This means that most of what is being learnt at school will arise from written text. Those who read typically have a better understanding of educational vocabulary, meaning better access to the curriculum and a better capacity to learn.
When we read, we build our knowledge of explicit word meanings and construct relevant background knowledge about particular topics. Without reading, our ideas and our perspectives of the world are limited.
So how do you ensure you do your very best to have your child access the curriculum?
Model reading. If your child sees you reading when you’re having downtime (and not watching TV or playing on your phone) then that’s what they see as normal. You don’t have to be reading a Game of Thrones novel. A magazine is fine.
Sit and read with your child. Regularly. Read to them, have them read to you, listen to audiobooks in the car. All of this will help them learn to enjoy recreational reading – and is a wonderful way to have that special bonding time with your child.
Give them a range of things to read (eg. comics, magazines, newspaper articles). Take them to a second hand bookstore and have them select their own books. If they feel they have more control over their decisions, they will be more likely to follow through with it.
Don’t jump in and read the word for your child if they are stuck. They need to learn their own decoding strategies and skills – otherwise they will always rely on someone else to read tricky words for them. You may have to bite down on your tongue initially with this!
Help your child break down words with a pencil into syllables or ‘chunks’ if they are stuck. This will help them use this skill independently.
Ask your child questions after each page to get them thinking about the content. This helps them link background knowledge with the text. Eg. Why did that happen? What is the authors trying to say here? Do you feel sorry for this character? Why or why not?
Why did the character do that?
What have we learnt about ____ (e.g. farms) so far?
If you don’t have time to sit and read with your child, ask them to summarise what they have read to you after they read. Tell them they need to tell you 2-3 things about the story they have read or ask them to describe one of the characters in the story.
Alternatively, ask your child to find 2-3 words that they don’t understand and underline them. Talk about the word meanings together so they can add this to their vocabulary.
For more information, contact Sydney Therapy & Co. a Speech Pathology & Occupational Therapy practice in Lane Cove.