Here are some tips to help with your child’s reading.
- Point out words
Point out and read street signs, billboards and labels when you are at the supermarket or visiting a new place. This draws your child’s attention to the different sounds that make up printed words. Ask them if they recognise certain letters (both uppercase and lowercase) as well as the sounds they make.
- Fill your home with things to read
Surround your child with a range of reading materials such as books, kids’ magazines, posters and charts. Creating a print-rich environment from an early age encourages your child’s interest in reading. You can even give them their own bookcase or a special reading nook at home.
- Give a lot of praise
Even if your child is making small progress in their reading, make sure they know how proud you are of their efforts. Encouraging them to pick up a book or have a go at sounding out tricky words will boost their confidence and motivate them to keep trying. Remember to praise their efforts rather than how ‘smart’ they are.
- Use technology to enhance learning
Digital technology has come a long way and is now incorporated into most classrooms. Online reading programs such as ABC Reading Eggs are designed by experienced educators to build essential reading skills in a fun, interactive and motivating way.
- Read and sing nursery rhymes
Nursery rhymes are not only fun to read, they develop essential pre-literacy skills like phonemic awareness and build vocabulary. Choose nursery rhymes that have a lot of repetition, which also makes remembering sounds, words, lines and verses easier.
- Play with ‘onsets’ and ‘rimes’
A fun way to teach your child how to decode words is by playing with onsets (the first phonological unit of a word) and rimes (the string of letters that follow). Cut out pieces of cards and write a phoneme on each one (e.g. b, c, f, p, r, s, m and h). Then write the letters ‘at’ on a different card. Ask your child to create words by matching cards (e.g. b + at = bat).
- Read to the family dog
Our companion animals make the perfect reading partner, especially for children who are struggling with reading and may fear being judged. If you don’t have animals at home (or can’t get yours to sit still), try getting your child to read to a younger sibling or even their toys.
- Read together every day
Reading together regularly is the single most important thing you can do to build your child’s reading skills. Making reading a fun, relaxed and bonding experience helps to nurture their love of reading, which is crucial for sustained success. It’s as simple as sharing a nightly bedtime story to get them on the right path.
Written by Sara Leman, Children?s Literacy Expert, and key consultant for ABC Reading Eggs