Help Improve Your Child’s Reading Skills

By Alexa Demyan,

Mother and Son Reading

BEFORE READING A BOOK

  • Before you begin, prepare your child. Talk about the cover, point to and read the title, author, and illustrator. Define any words he/she may not know.
  • Name and point to the front and back of the book and talk about any pictures you see.
    Ask your child to guess what the book might be about based on the title and the pictures. Use words such as “I think,”
  • “I wonder,” “maybe,” etc. Talk about what YOU know about the book or experiences you’ve had.
  • Be excited about reading the book! Your child will be, too!

DURING BOOK READING

  • Ask where you start to read on each page. Point to the first word of each sentence and say, “This is the first word. This is where I start reading.”
  • Ask which direction you go when reading a sentence. Move your finger along the sentence from left to right.
  • Move your finger along the words smoothly as you read to show that print is read.
  • Point out each word in the sentence as you read them to show that sentences are made of smaller parts (words) or point out a letter and name it.
  • Talk about any words that your child might not know.

AFTER READING A BOOK

  • Once you and your child have looked at and read the book a few times, talk about each page, making comments and asking questions. Talk about feelings, imagine, explain, ask “what would you do if….?” Talk about what happened in the story and any new ideas or words.
  • Read the book MANY times so your child hears the words and sentences. This helps them understand and learn more.
  • Leave the book out for your child so he/she can practice “reading” it, too. Let your child knowhow proud you are when he/she tries! Although young children can’t “read” every word on the page, encourage them to tell the story by looking at the pictures.
  • Act out the story together or draw a picture about it.