The school year has officially started. You may have a child who is now ready to read. If you are unsure of your child’s readiness to read please click here to take 2 free tests
the alphabet test
and the sound test
If your child is ready to read here are 5 tips to ensure your child’s beginning reading experience gets off to the right start!
1. Picture Walk
Introduce the title to your child and have them take a picture walk with you. A picture walk is an important way to introduce to your new reader how to use picture cues to help them identify words on a page.
To get started have your child tell you what they see on each page. Ask about story components they might be able to gather from looking at the pictures such as what characters, setting, details/events, and problems. Have your child predict what might happen based on previewing each picture in the story.
2. Model Reading
Read the title. Place your finger on each word as you read it. Use intonation in your voice to depict character traits as you read. Have your child assist you with repetitive sentence patterns from one page to the next or with words high frequency words they know.
3. Give your child the stage!
Hopefully if you ask your child to be a brave reader they will take you up on it! Have them try to re-read the story on their own. Help them with letter sounds when necessary and provide them with “hints” on language patterns as long as they show an interest in learning them.
4. Make sure they understand what they read.
Ask your child questions. Your child should be able to recall straight facts/details from a story. An example might be, “What did the character get in the story?”
You should have your child summarize their understanding with questions such as, “What was the main idea or simply what was this story about?”
However, you should also make sure your child can connect with the story. Asking questions such as, “How do you think the main character felt and have you ever felt this way?” Is a great way to help your new reader make a deeper connection between text and real life.
A child will begin to see that what they read can be about them, help them see a different point of view, or be like a television show in their head. Remind them that only they can see a unique story in their mind when they read because each of them has a unique imagination. Reading can be a powerful way to learn and relax too!
5. Write about it!
Even beginning readers have something to say if you give them a chance. New readers are often uncomfortable when asked to write.
However, if you get your child in the habit of writing daily about what they read they will think holistically about literacy. You might be transcribing their dictations for a while and they might draw a picture. This is beginning literacy and as long as you are starting with good habits the written word will come with time.