Time and time again, research shows that learning to read - and to love to read - is directly linked to children's success at school and beyond. So how can you best support your child at home?
Before you start reading a book, talk about the title, the pictures on the cover (front and back). Look through the pictures together and ask your child what they think the story might be about.
Your child might bring home decodable books from school. Designed to allow your child to learn how to read independently, these books help children apply their phonic skills – sounding out the words on the page. And don’t forget that some words, like said and the, are tricky and can’t be sounded out so keep pointing these out to practise them. Be patient and be impressed!
As you read and when you’ve finished, sometimes ask questions about the story. 'What was your favourite bit? What do you think about that? What would you do?' Get your child to ask you questions too. Don’t overdo it though – otherwise you can lose the thread of the plot.
Sometimes after you have shared a story, ask your child to retell it to you. Help by asking 'What happened first? What next? And then what?' Can you remember what happens at the end?! Encourage them to use plenty of expression.
Compare events in stories or information books with things you’ve done together, so your child starts to make connections between these things and their own experiences: 'That’s just like when we went to Thorpe Park. Do you remember? Dad was scared...'
After you have read a book, play letter-spotting and word games like these with your child: Can you find Dan’s name on this page? Can you find the word ‘and’ on this page? How many words can you find on this page that begin with ‘t’? Get your child to ask you too!
It’s really important to read as much as possible with your child. Read the books that come home from school, borrow library books, buy books and magazines. Read signs and notices, and find interesting websites to read. And keep reading together at bedtime too!
· Oxford University Press 2017