How can I help my child?
When a student is struggling with reading, parents always ask, "How can I help my child?" Here are some ideas:
• Read, read, read, talk! Read aloud together every day. Answer your child's questions, even if they interrupt the story. Talk as you read. Ask questions about the characters and events.
•Re-read again and again! Sometimes parents get frustrated when children want to read the same stories over and over again. However, this is a normal and important piece of your child's literacy development. Encourage re-reading.
• Explore the sounds that letters make! Ask questions like, "What sounds do you hear in the word ball?" and "What letter starts the word mop?" Help your child make the connection.
• Make connections together! After reading, encourage your child to write or draw about the text. Ask him/her to retell the story in his/her own words. Where in the text is there a similarity to your own lives, or another book you have read?
• Help your child find books that s/he loves! Go to the library. Ask friends or teachers for recommendations. Subscribe to a children's magazine. Think about the topics, sports, or activities your child enjoys, and go from there. There is a book out there for everyone!
• Be a cheerleader! Early readers must work hard to decode text. Help your child by encouraging all efforts, and praising accomplishments. When your child gets stuck on a word, do not provide the answer immediately. Instead, encourage him/her to use picture or context clues, sound out the word, "chunk" the word, or "break it down" into smaller parts that are easier to read, and think about what makes sense. Children need to access their toolbox of strategies frequently before they aren't needed anymore.
• Offer motivation to reluctant learners! There is nothing wrong with finding the right motivation for children who are reluctant to try. Celebrate the smallest accomplishments with a trip to the park, family game night, a special treat, or........a book!
• Allow your child to play! There are TONS of online games and apps for your tablet or smartphone that reinforce reading skills, while entertaining too. A list of some well known sites with fun reading games that reinforce skills are listed above under "Links for Kids." A list of apps for both entertainment and learning are listed above under "Apps for Reading fun."
Resources for parents: