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School News > School News > Reading Matters: Useful tips about reading support for Lower School parents

Reading Matters: Useful tips about reading support for Lower School parents

Top tips by Lower School to support your child's reading at home
19 Oct 2020
School News

Here we gather tips about reading support that parents receive through the weekly Lower School Newsletter over the past 3 weeks, with lots of useful pointers on how to encourage your children to read for pleasure at home regularly! 

Top tips to support your child's reading at home

Reading, being read to, and sharing books in the home helps to build a child’s vocabulary and understanding of the world. Research shows children who start school with good vocabulary and communication skills make friends more easily, settle in quicker and are more likely to do well at school.
Reading with your child, or encouraging your child to read independently for at least ten minutes each day can make all the difference. Here are some top tips to help children of all ages to enjoy reading and to get reading more often.

1. Take breaks while reading

Your child doesn’t have to read an entire book in one go! Any time spent sharing or talking about a book is
beneficial, even if it’s just a couple of minutes at a time. If they have to close the book early because it’s time for
dinner or they’re just losing interest, that’s okay. Reading can take a lot of mental energy and taking breaks gives children a chance to slowly build the mental stamina they need, so that soon they will be able to read for longer stretches of time.

2. Build reading into your child's daily routine

Find a regular time for reading in your child’s day, so that they can begin to expect it as part of their routine. This can be any time of day. Some children enjoy reading before bed, but others can just be too exhausted at night. It might be better for some children to read just after dinner, or in the morning after breakfast, when they have more energy. You can encourage your child to track their reading using a weekly reading chart. This will help them celebrate their progress.
Also, create a cosy place in your home that you can call the ‘reading corner’, which can be any size you like. Let
your child decorate it with their favourite books and soft toys, so they look forward to going there to read. When you can, try to make sure they see you reading, or read with them, so they know adults read too!

3. Encourage your child to follow their interests

Let your young children choose the books they read. You can do this by keeping books on a shelf they have
regular access to, or presenting them with two or three books and letting them choose. Let them read the same
book, or same genre of reading material (such as football magazines!), over and over again. Repetition will help
younger children learn words and understand how language is structured. Following their interests is also the best way to keep them engaged and make reading fun, which will make them more likely to want to read more widely going forward.
Finally, if you are reading the book to them, let them turn the pages, skip pages, return to pages and let them
interrupt you—even if it feels like they are getting off track. Talking about the book helps them make sense of what they are reading.

4. Use technology together

National Literacy Trust research has found that, when used appropriately and with an adult, technology can provide an important route into reading for many children. This can include a multitude of activities, such as:

  • Telling a story using pictures on your phone

  • Video calling friends and relatives to engage children in conversation

  • Using YouTube to find the lyrics to nursery rhymes

Using apps to read e-books or listen to audiobooks (many organisations are providing them for free during school closures)

Encourage your child to be the author

Build writing and drawing into your routine at home by helping your child tell a story. When telling stories, children are practising important language skills, such as past and future tense and transition words. You can model this behaviour, by telling them stories. Children love to hear stories about your childhood or other experiences, and it gives them inspiration for telling their own stories.

6. Have a chat

Research shows that children who engage regularly in conversational turn-taking with an adult learn faster when they’re older. Taking every opportunity to chat with your child will help them build the language and vocabulary skills they need for school. Let your child pick the topic they want to talk about, listen to them,  ask questions and share your ideas. You can use daily activities to spark conversation with your child, such as getting dressed or making a meal. You’ll learn a lot about your child’s interests!

These activities, or similar ones, can be used with children of all ages. Young children will learn best when doing
these activities alongside you, and you can help your older child by showing them how to use the technology
appropriately. All children benefit from seeing and hearing their parents and carers do things. This helps them to
understand how to do it themselves. Technology is also most effective when it is linked to other things your child is learning, and when it is balanced with other learning activities.

Stay connected more useful tips will follow!

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