Reading Tips for Parents

  • Don't leave home without it

    Bring along a book or magazine any time your child has to wait, such as at a doctor's office. Always try to fit in reading!

    Once is not enough

    Encourage your child to re-read favorite books and poems. Re-reading helps kids read more quickly and accurately.

    Dig deeper into the story

    Ask your child questions about the story you've just read. Say something like, "Why do you think Clifford did that?"

    Take control of the television

    It's difficult for reading to compete with TV and video games. Encourage reading as a free-time activity.

    Be patient

    When your child is trying to sound out an unfamiliar word, give him or her time to do so. Remind to child to look closely at the first letter or letters of the word.

    Pick books that are at the right level

    Help your child pick books that are not too difficult. The aim is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences.

    Play word games

    Have your child sound out the word as you change it from mat to fat to sat; from sat to sag to sap; and from sap to sip.

    I read to you, you read to me

    Take turns reading aloud at bedtime. Kids enjoy this special time with their parents.

    Gently correct your young reader

    When your child makes a mistake, gently point out the letters he or she overlooked or read incorrectly. Many beginning readers will guess wildly at a word based on its first letter.

    Talk, talk, talk!

    Talk with your child every day about school and things going on around the house. Sprinkle some interesting words into the conversation, and build on words you've talked about in the past.

    Write, write, write!

    Ask your child to help you write out the grocery list, a thank you note to Grandma, or to keep a journal of special things that happen at home. When writing, encourage your child to use the letter and sound patterns he is learning at school.

    Tell family tales

    Children love to hear stories about their family. Talk about a funny thing that happened when you were young.

    Create a writing toolbox

    Fill a box with drawing and writing materials. Find opportunities for your child to write, such as the shopping list, thank you notes, or birthday cards.

    Be your child's #1 fan

    Ask your child to read aloud what he or she has written for school. Be an enthusiastic listener.

    One more time with feeling

    When your child has sounded out an unfamiliar word, have him or her re-read that sentence. Often kids are so busy figuring out a word they lose the meaning of what they've just read.

    Invite an author to class

    Ask an author to talk to your child's class about the writing process. Young children often think they aren't smart enough if they can't sit down and write a perfect story on the first try.

    Create a book together

    Fold pieces of paper in half and staple them to make a book. Ask your child to write sentences on each page and add his or her own illustrations.

    Do storytelling on the go

    Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in a car or bus. Try making the story funny or spooky.

    Point out the relationship between words

    Explain how related words have similar spellings and meanings. Show how a word like knowledge, for example, relates to a word like know.

    Use a writing checklist

    Have your child create a writing checklist with reminders such as, "Do all of my sentences start with a capital? Yes/No."

    Quick, quick

    Use new words your child has learned in lively flash card or computer drills. Sometimes these help kids automatically recognize and read words, especially those that are used frequently.