If you’re a parent who is wondering how to help your child read, following these tips will go a long way to making your child a proficient reader.
5 parenting tips for how to help your child read
- Encourage and practice writing – Amazing as it may seem, writing is one of the best ways to develop good reading. It demands more attention and concentration than reading and this in turn, results in better reading.Practice writing with your child as much as you can. Writing from memory is best. Do this by showing your child a word and then removing that word from your child’s view before he or she writes it.
- Improve your child’s decoding skills: Decoding is the term for “saying what the word is.” If your child has trouble decoding a word, say the word and have your child repeat it. Then if the word is in a book, have your child start the sentence from the first word. This gives your child cues to absorb, which is far more effective than simply telling your child to “sound out the word.”
- Watch your own reading habits – don’t be afraid to “give the answer”: Read a page of a book out loud to your child while both you and your child are looking at the page. Then have your child re-read the page. This may seem like you are giving away the store, but it is amazingly effective. We have lots of hidden prejudices about “giving the answer,” but it is actually a good thing to do.
- Practice filling in the words: Take a page child has to read and type up the same text with words missing. For example, the sentence, “The boy was walking near the lake” can become “The ___ was walking ____ the lake.”Show the sentence (or paragraph if child is getting stronger). Then show the text with the words deleted and have your child fill them in. If your child makes a mistake or does not remember a word, show the page again, but then offer a new, clean version of the fill-ins and have your child start from the beginning.
- Don’t use the finger: If your child is using his or her finger to follow the words, stop it. Hold a card under the line and let your child read. When the paragraph is complete, repeat without the card, while still not letting your child point. Visual tracking problems are common in reading and they do not receive the attention they deserve. As long as a child uses a finger, he will not use his eyes for tracking and this will hold up effective reading.
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