English Champ

How to kick start reading with your child – Part 2

Tips for reading aloud with your child

  • Do begin reading to your child as soon as possible.
  • Use Mother Goose rhymes and songs to stimulate an infant’s language, and other books that include repetitions.
  • As your child grows, add books that contain storylines that they can guess at, but continue reading rhyming and song books.
  • When you begin reading picture books, choose those that have only a few words on the page, and then shift to picture books that have a few sentences. Gradually, your child will be ready for books with fewer pictures and more text, but don’t rush this.
  • When your child is old enough, get him or her to turn the pages for you. This will get and keep your child more involved.
  • From time-to-time, stop at a word so that your child can provide the word.
  • Reading together is an acquired habit, just as listening is, so give your child time to get used to it, just as you will need time to get used to reading aloud.
  • Choose books that you liked as a child when you begin reading aloud. This will help you get used to reading aloud – the more you do it, the better you get at it.
  • Read slowly when you read aloud, and if you feel comfortable doing so, try to vary the tone, volume, and kind of voices you read in to your child. He or she will love it.
  • As you get more experienced with reading aloud and with the books you and your child select, you can vary your pace at various parts of the book as you read the story.
  • Create a wall chart or list of the books that you and your child have read together, so your child can see his or her progress and mark down favourite books. This idea works well if you are using books that you’ve borrowed from the library.
  • Research has shown that it’s valuable for fathers to read to their children too, not only mothers. A father’s early involvement in his child’s reading, can show children positive male role modeling.
  • Let your child see you reading for learning and pleasure. Have books and magazines around the house for all family members. It doesn’t hurt to turn off the TV occasionally too.
  • Everyone has used the television as a ‘babysitter’, but it’s really valuable to involve your child in your activities and explain what you’re doing. While this can slow you down, it will help your young child’s language and literacy skills immeasurably
  • Allow children to settle down before you begin reading. Asking them if they are ready is a good idea, don’t take on the role of authoritarian teacher at home.
  • Where possible, avoid long descriptive passages and large sections of dialogue. This kind of reading challenges both the listener and reader too much, and becomes tiring.

Written by English Champ

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