How can I help my beginning reader?
Children who are just beginning to read need a lot of practice! The best way to help your child become a reader is to give them many opportunities to read. Public libraries are a great place to find books that your child can read, and it is FREE! The librarian will even help you find books at your child's level. It is also helpful to listen to your child read books he/she brings home from school. They can even practice with the papers they bring home. Some parents save the stories their children write in school because they are a great resource of easy reading for the child.
It is also helpful for your child to listen to you read to them. When you read aloud to your child, they have the opportunity to hear stories they are not yet able to read. It also helps your child to increase their vocabulary and learn new words. Your child also benefits from hearing how a good reader sounds. Reading should sound like talking, and you can model that for your child when you read aloud. Children of all ages can benefit from listening to an adult read, both before and after they have started reading themselves.
What do I do when they come to a word they don't know?
As adults, our first instinct is often to ask the child to "sound out" the word, but that is actually one of the most difficult ways to solve the problem. It is much easier to ask the child to "Read that again and think what would make sense." This helps the child to think about the story. Encourage your child to look at the pictures for clues -- that is why they are in the book! You can ask, "What word would make sense there?" If they are still having trouble, ask, "Would (say the word) work there?" Or just tell them the word.
When children are practicing reading with their parents, it should be relaxed and enjoyable. Do not pressure them to get every word right. Give them a chance to figure it out first, and just tell them the word if they struggle.
Reading at home can be fun. You can encourage your children to be readers by:
- Listening to your children read
- Reading aloud to your children
- Letting your children see you read for enjoyment
- Helping your children to read for information (traffic signs, store signs, TV Guide, etc.)