This week is often a firm favourite of both our students and teachers. Classes from across the Primary Stage are exploring a wordless text as a stimulus for their literacy work. There is already a real buzz around the school as teachers have decorated their doors, representing a chosen book. To mark World Book Day on Thursday 1 March, students are encouraged to come to school dressed as a famous character from a book. We encourage you to spend quality time reading with your child, not just this week, but every week of the year!
Why is reading important?
Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out what’s printed on the page. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. It’s important for them to understand how stories work too. Even if your child doesn’t understand every word, they’ll hear new sounds, words and phrases which they can then try out, copying what they have heard.
As children learn to read at school, you can play an important role in helping to keep them interested in books. Find out what interests them, help them to find books that will be engaging and fun, and spend time reading the books they bring home from school together.
10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read
1. Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.
2. Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest, then do something else.
3. Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word, do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to 'sound out' words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than 'alphabet names'.
4. Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don't say 'No. That's wrong,' but 'Let's read it together' and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child's confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
5. Success is the key
Parent’s anxiousness for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Remember 'Nothing succeeds like success'. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
6. Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most school days. 'Little and often' is best. Teachers will also listen to your child read in school once per week.
7. Talk about the books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, and their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
8. Variety is important
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books.
Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns in your child’s ‘Reading Record’ book. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
10. Develop your own skills
Look out for updates in our e-Newsletter for when ‘Reading workshops’ are taking place in school. It is important for your child to know that you are making links with the school and are looking for ideas as to how you can best support them in their reading.