Ways to Help Your Kids Do Well in Reading

Suggestions for Adults

  • Choose a quiet spot for you and your child.
  • Establish a routine time and place to read to your child.
  • Read aloud regularly from books your child would like to read but cannot yet. 
  • Don’t jump in with corrections.
  • Don’t put pressure on your child. Example “We had that word last night!”
  • Don’t be mad if your child can’t remember the next night.
  • Believe that your child can learn to read.
  • Let your child see you reading.
  • Read aloud to your child.
  • Get a library card and take your child to the library.

Before Reading

Before reading (book, magazine, newspaper, etc.) have your child:

  • Read the title of the book and discuss the title.
  • Look at the book cover. Discuss what the cover looks like. Notice details. Think about what you already know.
  • Take a picture walk through the book, look for details, and enjoy the beautiful pictures. Talk about what your child thinks might be happening on each page.
  • Predict what the story might be about (tell your child that he/she might be correct or incorrect in their prediction-but there is no way to know until he/she has read the book and it doesn’t matter if the prediction is correct-the idea is to start thinking about the story before you begin reading.)

During Reading

During reading have your child:

  • Picture the story in his/her mind when reading. Making mental pictures in your mind can increase memory.  In class we call this visualizing.
  • Answer questions about what he/she is reading. Suggested questions:
    • Who is the main character?
    • Tell about the setting.
    • What is the problem in the story?
    • How was the problem solved?

After Reading

After reading have your child:

  • Retell or summarize the story with as much detail as possible.    
  • Connect the story to real life. When children make connections to real life or to things they are familiar with, they are able to develop better understandings. To connect to real life you might ask your child if this story reminded them of anything. Why or how does it remind you of that?

3 Keys to Reading

Comprehension: understanding and applying what is read.

Assisted Reading – Your child chooses a book. You read through it first, discussing and enjoying the story together.  Then invite your child to whisper or mumble read along as you read it a second time.  While your child is “getting the hang of it,” keep your voice loud and steady.  When it is clear that your child is feeling confident, lower your voice or even stop for a word or phrase that is very predictable.

Fluency:  smoothness in reading aloud.

Echo Reading – You read a little bit (a phrase, sentence, a line or two of a poem) and suggest that your child read it back to you like an echo.

Decoding using strategies to figure out unfamiliar words.  Strategies include sounding out the word, using picture clues, looking for a familiar chunk in a word, skipping the word until you read to the end of the sentence and then going back to figure it out.

Listening to Your Child Read:

  • Children might meet unknown words or substitute a word that doesn’t make sense or sound like language.  They often can correct themselves if you exercise patience and show confidence that they can work out some problems for themselves.
  • If your child becomes frustrated, provide ready help.  For instance, simply provide a difficult word or give hints related to meaning.  Offer no criticism or attempts to teach or give advice.
  • If the child becomes tangled in a sentence or loses the drift of what is being read, encourage a rereading of the tangled portion.
  • Try to never correct or call attention to error in the middle of a sentence.  Wait until the end and then gently question: “Did that make sense to you?  You read ____ (repeating exactly what was read).  Are you happy with that?”
  • Encourage self-correction.
  • Read an interesting book while the child follows the text.  Leave out one in every 10th to 15th word for the child to read.  This can be a very enjoyable sharing activity in which the child remains fresh and interested while learning.  To vary this, read a sentence and then wait for the child to read a sentence.  This allows for spaced relaxation during the period when reading is still exhausting for the child.
  • Be Positive!!
  • Don’t display anxiety or frustration about reading and writing.  Be a cheerleader and a listener.  Talk about the books with your child.

Choosing Books for Independent Reading:

How do you determine if your child will be able to read a book on his/her own?  Use The 5 Finger Rule:  Have your child read aloud a page or so of a book.  If your child misses more than 5 words on a page, then this book is probably too difficult for him/her.  If your child does not miss any words on the page, then this book is probably too easy.  Ideally your child should be challenged by a few words on each page, but not so many that he/she loses the meaning of the story. 

Magnolia Trace Elementary School
1405 Highway 1088 Mandeville, LA 70448
Phone (985) 626-8238 Fax (985) 626-0209






















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