Ask, Seek, Knock. Matthew 7:7
Learning to read well is a vital part of a child’s education. In school we teach strategies for decoding print, provide teaching in how to make sense of what is read and provide many opportunities to use this skill.
An important part of learning to read is having regular practice, with a more capable reader – to practise decoding strategies, to discuss what is being read and to consolidate what is being learned in school.
Every child is set reading homework, three times every week, for around 15 minutes each time. The following notes are intended to support parents listening to their children read.
Helping your child with reading homework
1. Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with out distractions. Aim to spend up to 15minutes.
2. Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. It is ok to take it in turns to read alternate lines or paragraphs. Most children are provided with two books. One book will be a reading scheme book which should be at a level that enables them to read fluently, some words will need to be decoded, or discussed to understand their meaning. The second book is usually from the library and should be chosen purely for enjoyment. If your child is not reading from the scheme any other suitable reading material can be used. In Years 3 and 4 some children may be withdrawn from the reading scheme as more challenging books may not be appropriate for their age group. They may then return to the scheme in later year groups.
3. Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of letters. If your child does try to ‘sound out’ words encourage the use of letter sounds rather than alphabet names. Most children will have been taught to ‘chunk’ words – breaking them up into syllables or chunks to pronounce them.
4. Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No that wrong’, but ‘Lets read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
5. Success is the key
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
6. Visit the library
Encourage your child to use the public libraries in Rugby or Dunchurch regularly. Story time can be a good opportunity to hear new authors and take part in entertaining reading sessions.
7. Regular practice
Try to complete the reading homework set for your child, completing the reading record to inform the class teacher of progress. Recording positive comments and any concerns will reassure your child that you are interested in their progress and that you value their reading.
8. Talk about the books
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. Always talk to your child about the book; about any pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, what they predict will happen, 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.
9. Variety is important
Children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems information books, plays.
If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s reading, please contact their class teacher either through the reading diary or by making an appointment.