Reading Tips

book worm

Reading Tips
How can you help your child?  What is your main homework assignment?  It is very important that parents read to and with their children.  Reading takes a lot of practice and patience.  Help your child to feel excited about reading and to enjoy books.  Give them something to look forward to by reading with them every day!

Reading Tips for Parents of Children in Kindergarten to Third Grade

(adapted from Florida Center for Reading Research)

  • Spend 15 minutes every day reading with your child.  Depending on your child, you could take turns reading a page at a time, have your child read to you, or echo-read by having your child repeat each sentence as you read it.
  • Before you begin a new book, read the title and look at the cover and pictures and/or chapter titles inside. Ask your child to make a prediction about what he/she thinks the book may be about.  After reading the book, review his/her prediction by asking, “Was your prediction right?”  If not, ask “What happened instead?”  Also, at the end of the story/book, have your child talk about what happened at the beginning, the middle, and the end (retelling).
  • Play rhyming games and take turns thinking of words that begin with the same sound and then words that end with the same sound.
  • Play the "say it fast" game.  Say a word, one sound at a time, and then have your child say the word at a normal rate.  For example, pronounce each sound in the word cat, "/c/ /a/ /t/."  Then your child says the word at the normal speed, "cat."  Play the "say the word slowly" game.  Say a word at normal rate and then have your child say the word slowly, one sound at a time.  For example, say the word, "mat."  Then your child will say the word slowly, one sound at a time, "/m/ /a/ /t/."
  • To increase your child’s vocabulary, you can point to things and ask the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand.  Pick out a new vocabulary word from one of the books you are reading with your child or have your child tell you a new word that he/she learned in school.  Talk about what the word means then have your child use the word in a new sentence.  You can also have your child tell you a new word he/she has learned every single day.  You can add the words to a "my new vocabulary word list" and post it on the refrigerator.
  • Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books.  It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.
  • Have your child highlight or underline words that he/she can read from the day's junk mail or newspaper.
  • Have your child read a book to a younger sibling and ask the brother or sister some questions as he/she reads.

What if my child gets stuck on a word?
  • Encourage your child to "sound out."  Look at how the word begins. 
    Ask your child what the letter usually sounds like.  This won't always
    work because some letters have more than one sound, but being able
    to sound out words is a valuable tool.  

  • Look at the picture and use it to figure out the word, if possible.
  • Look for chunks in the word, such as it in the word sit, at in the
    word mat, or 
    and and ing in the word standing.
  • Skip the word and continue reading to the end of the sentence.
  • Go back and find the word on a previous page.
  • Go on and read to the end of the sentence.  Often by reading the 
    other words in context, the child can figure out the unknown word.
  • Ask the child if the word looks like another word he/she knows.     
    bed look like red
  • Guess what word would make sense and try it in the sentence.
  • Guess what word would make sense and check to see if the letters 
    in the printed word match your guess.
  • Cover the ending (-ed, -ing) with your finger and try the word.
  • If the child says the wrong word while reading, ask questions like:
    Does that make sense?
    Does that sound right?
    Does that look right?
  • Read the word together.  Say the word.  Spell the word.  Say the 

What if my child is reluctant to read?

  • Make reading relaxing and low-key for a short part of the day. 
  • Have him/her read to a younger sibling.
  • Read and reread and reread.  Kids reach for the same books over 
    and over again. That's OK.  Through repetition kids can master the text
    and eventually sail through it with ease and confidence.
  • If your child likes a movie, see if it's based on a book, then bring 
    home the book.
  • Start with your child's picks. Comics or joke books may not be your first 
    choice, but they can motivate kids to read.
  • Read aloud some funny or interesting parts of your favorite book.
  • Draw your child in with a riddle book for kids, a passage from Sports 
    Illustrated, or a newspaper story.

By the National Education Association




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