One of the best ways you can support your beginning reader is by making reading time a priority. Listen to him read every evening. Here are some tips for making the most out of this precious time with your child:
- Make each reading time a positive, encouraging experience for your child. Point out things that he is doing well. Remember that success breeds success.
- Beginning readers will memorize their books at first. This is one of the earlier stages of learning to read. Help your child see himself as a successful reader.
- Talk with your child about the title of the book and make predictions about what it might be about. Good readers are always seeking to understand the text.
- As your child reads, talk with him about what is happening in the story. Discuss characters feelings and make predictions.
- Do NOT cover up the pictures when your child reads. We are teaching the children that good readers use the pictures to help them figure out the words that they are reading.
- Encourage your beginning reader to point to each word as he reads. This helps him to attend to each written word on the page. He is learning that one spoken word must match one written word of text. After several months, most children will stop pointing to the words on their own.
- When your child comes to an unknown word, wait five seconds before saying anything.
- Help your child learn that good readers use many strategies to figure out unknown words. Below are some things that you can say when your child comes to a word that he is not familiar with. (IMPORTANT: Encourage your child to try only a couple of these strategies at a time. If after two attempts your child still cannot figure out the word, go ahead and tell him the word. You don t want to let him get overly frustrated.)
To help your child figure out an unknown word, you can say…
- “Look at the picture.”
- “Sound it out.”
- “Try that sentence again. When you get to the hard word, get your mouth ready and make the first sound.”
- “Try that sentence again. Skip the hard word, and think about what word would make sense there.”
- “See if you can find a little word inside of the bigger word.” (If your child can read the word ‘or , he may be able to use that knowledge to figure out the word ‘more .)
- “See if you can find a word part that you recognize.” (If your child knows the word part ‘ing , he may be able to use that knowledge to figure out the word ‘thing .)
- “That word looks like another word you know.” Show him the similar word. (If he can read the word ‘look , he can use that knowledge to figure out the word ‘cook .)
- After your child knows several of these strategies, ask HIM to tell YOU what strategies he can try when he comes to a word that he doesn’t recognize. We want him to make these strategies his own.
- After reading a fiction book, ask your child to retell the story to you. He should mention the characters by name, identify the setting of the story, and summarize the beginning, middle, and ending of the story. Talk about your favorite parts. Compare this book to other books you have read together.
- After reading a nonfiction book, discuss the things you have learned. Talk about the parts of the book that you found most interesting. Discuss how nonfiction books differ from fiction books. Pay attention to the many different conventions found in nonfiction texts. (table of contents, index, subheadings, bold print, glossary, maps, graphs, photographs with captions, comparisons) Discuss the importance of these conventions.
Remember to keep the reading experience positive and encouraging.