A child’s success as a reader can be heavily influenced by the book-loving environment you provide for them outside of school. Vickie Leung, speech pathologist and former director of the Multi-Lit Literacy Centre at Macquarie University, explains three easy strategies to use at home to encourage your child’s enjoyment of reading.
You can make books fun by varying your tone when you read to your child. Try reading with different voices and acting out parts of a book together. Set a good example and show your child how much you love reading by modelling good book reading habits. Talk with your child about how much you love to read. Next time you’re at home and you catch yourself spending too much time on your phone or laptop, stop. Show your child that you ‘walk the talk’ by grab a book to read instead.
Read to your child every day. Reading together gives you an opportunity to spend time with your child, interacting over books. During this time, you can build your child’s vocabulary by discussing interesting or new words. For example, “The rainbow was a miracle! What do you think a miracle is? What other miracles can you think of?” You will be amazed at your child’s existing wealth of knowledge and they will be equally pleased to surprise you with how much they know.
Talk with your child about sounds, letters, words and books. Encourage your child to use the world around them for daily incidental reading opportunities. For example, point out print that they see around them, such as on road signs, number plates, instructions on a manual and food packaging.
You can play games with sounds too! For example, on a car ride, play “I hear with my ear, something beginning with the sound ‘b’ for a Bus”.
Another activity for a car ride could be storytelling. Make up a story together, taking turns adding to the plotline, making it a funny, strange or spooky story.
For primary school age and above, you can ask your child to summarise a book they are reading, identify the main idea of a passage or predict what might happen next. Summarising, identifying main ideas and predicting skills are all pre-requisites for good memory and reading comprehension.
Remember, the number one tip is to have fun and help build a positive relationship between your child and books. These strategies are just a few of the hundreds of games and activities that can help your child become a happy and keen reader.
If you have any concerns about your child’s reading skills, make an appointment to talk to your child’s school teacher, paediatrician or a Speech Pathologist as soon as possible.
Kids First’s paediatric speech pathologists have supported hundreds of northern beaches children as they have improved their reading…and we can help your child too.
We offer one to one literacy support that has the added benefit of being a health service that can attract health fund rebates.
Our popular Ready Set Read groups also provide preschoolers with nurturing pre-literacy support that helps them to be confident and successful school starters
Find out more about Kids First’s speech, language and literacy support services for children, here or call our centre in Brookvale for more information on (02) 9938 5419