Sharing Stories and Learning to Read at Home
At St Joseph’s we value parents’ involvement in their child’s reading. It is important for you to read regularly with your child, so that they may practise regularly the skills we teach them at school.
Here are some tips which may be helpful:
- Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.
- Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
- Sounding out
Help your child to use sounding out to read unknown words – do not allow them to guess using pictures. Encourage them to keep the sounds clipped short, without an ‘uhh’ at the end, as this helps with blending the sounds together.
e.g. ‘mmm – u- mmm’ makes ‘mum’, but ‘muh-u-muh’ makes ‘muhumuh’, which doesn’t make much sense!
Or ‘c – ah – t’ makes ‘cat’, but ‘cuh-ah-tuh’ only makes ‘cuhahtuh’ – nonsense!
- Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but instead say ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words and the sounds as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
- Visit the Library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
- Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is better than longer sessions.
Your child has a school reading diary. Try to write in it regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately! Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part.You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
- Favourite stories
Allow your child to re-read favourite stories, or hear you re-read them. Knowing a familiar book will help them notice more about the words on the page and they will start to recognise the patterns in new words and stories.
- Get caught reading!
Make sure that your child has the opportunity to watch you enjoy reading. Pull out those newspapers, magazines or novels before they are in bed!
Useful websites and apps
Tablet friendly ebooks to read at home
Free phonics games
Hear the sounds – Debbie Hepplewhite (creator of Floppy’s Phonics)
Free phonics games
Excellent phonics app for the iPad by SoundsWrite – first three units are free, unlock all content for £1.99
Excellent site for teachers, parents and children giving recommendations and reviews for both iPad and Android apps
Gorgeous website full of animated books – great for bedtime, too!
Help and information for parents who wish to help their child’s reading at home.