How to Help at Home

What to do at home

  • Continue to read aloud to your child no matter what their age or ability of reading.
  • Use the library.
  • Use the environment around you. For example, finding food at the shops, reading the names of places that you are going to and look at signs giving information.
  • Listen to story tapes, remembering they are an alternative and not a replacement to reading to them out loud.
  • Games offer support and are necessary through their first few years at school. Lotto, memory games, snap, picture predictions, sequencing cards, sequencing events e.g. what order do you put your clothes on, what order did we do things today.
  • Concentration skills also need to be developed and so fun can be had with tongue twisters, riddles and mirroring songs and rhythms.

Pointers to help with reading

  • Sharing a book means just that. Before reading look at the cover, flick through the book, discuss the characters in the book and make predictions about the story line. It is also important to talk about the story at the end. Had you guessed what would happen etc.
  • Give your child plenty of time to work out new words, to re-read and to correct their own mistakes. Providing words too quickly prevents the child from learning to find their own way of making sense of the print.
  • When they get stuck, point to clues that may be useful. This could be the picture, or the whole word, the sound it starts with or the flow of what’s gone before. It is often handy to re-read up to that point, leave the unknown word, read to the end of the sentence, then re-read trying to fit in an appropriate word. All children are different. If your child appears anxious or annoyed at their difficulty, give them the word but encourage them to re-read the sentence with the given word. Suitable things to say:
  1.  That’s a tricky word. Let’s see if we can break it up into phonic sounds.
  2.  Does that sound right? Think about what it might be by reading that sentence again.
  3.  Which word makes sense there? Let’s read to the end and see if we can fit one in.
  4.  What looks/sounds right there?
  5.  Does that word/sentence sound right? Let’s read it again and see.
  • Keep your child interested and enthusiastic. Use whatever approach works for them. Talk all the time when sharing books as this helps them to learn ways of tackling new words and, of course, should increase their pleasure and understanding of what they are reading. Praise all their efforts and help them build upon a sense of success.
  • When reading aloud you are concentrating on different skills and some times it is possible to switch off so it is important to realise that time spent reading aloud needs to be matched by time spent discussing the content.
  • For long and involved stories it is fine to make it a joint event. Reading in turns is ideal as it gives you an opportunity to share reading together and it allows listening and comprehension skills to continue and improve.
  • Listen for intonation, fluency and expression.
  • Keeping in touch with the school.
  • Use the reading diary system that accompanies the school reading book.
  • Please record your child’s reactions, note any difficulties and raise any issues.
  • Often it is easy to just write the page numbers but it is a shared reading time and an opportunity for you to praise your child’s successes and give positive reinforcement to the activity.
  • It is always a good idea to arrange a meeting with the teacher if you have any concerns about your child’s reading.