I wrote this blog post for Tidy Books.
Whilst I was an early years teacher I learned one key thing about reading. This being that it really does matter how much is done at home, but not in the way some parents might be led to believe. It’s children that are surrounded by books (be they bought or borrowed) and have books shared with them at home, that come to the classroom wanting to read. Children that are forced to read their scheme book day in day out, despite the fact they find them dull, can become despondent and put off. It’s about striking the balance between what school needs you to do and what you need to do to instill a love of literature and an avid reader.
Don’t stress – never compare how your child’s reading compares with another. Each child will learn to read at his or her own rate. What actually matters is that they learn to love books and see the point of learning to read.
Set a good example – let them see you read too.
Read a page each – this will help keep the momentum of the story. Chat about the story as you go too: Enjoy it…have a laugh!
Move on to serialised story reading but keep up the fabulous picture books too. They’re never too old for good quality picture books, I know I still adore them at 34!
Don’t be a book snob! Many children learn to read purely on a diet of non-fiction and this is fine! It’s whatever gets them interested; whether it’s a book on dinosaurs, ballet – or even magazines.
Not too tricky – let them try a page of a book. If they are stuck on more than 5 words per page it may be too much of a struggle. Read it to them instead and let them relax and enjoy.
The most important point is to really have fun with books. Have fun with the words you read and encourage them to enjoy the written word (I actually think getting to re-read Dahl classics, this time out loud, is actually amongst my top 10 things about being a Mum!) If reading is a drag, something they have to do, you may be able to get them to learn to ‘bark’ the text at you – mere de-coding. What you want is a child yearning for more and this can only come as the result of a relaxed approach.