A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
When parents help their children learn to read, they open the door to a big, exciting world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain like this: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally, they read for their own information or pleasure. When children become readers, their world is forever wider and richer.
Here are some things you can do:
- Read aloud to your child: books, newspaper and magazine articles, the back of the cereal box, labels on cans, or directions.
- Read poems aloud together to learn about rhythm and repeated sounds in language.
- Point to the words on the page when you read. Move your finger from left to right.
- Listen to your child read homework or favorite stories to you every day.
- Go to the library together and check out books. Be sure to ask the librarian for good books or to help you find what you need.
- Have books, magazines, and papers around the house, and let your child see that you like to read, too.
- Encourage older children to read to younger children.
- Help experienced readers talk and write about what they read.
Over and Over Again
for young children
- Pick a story or poem that repeats phrases. "Assign" your child a phrase to repeat each time you read a new part of the story.
- Read a short portion of the story or poem, then stop and let your child repeat the phrase.
- Encourage your child to act out the story.
For example, with the story of the "Three Little Pigs:"
Wolf (parent): Little pig, little pig, Let me come in.
Little Pig (child): Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!
Wolf (parent): Then I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!
Make Sense of Sounds
for beginning readers
- Look for poems or tongue twisters that repeat sounds and letters.
- Point out these sounds and letters, and explain that they often make the same sound whenever you see them with other letters on the page. For example:
There once was a fat cat named Matt.
And a black cat who had a big bat.
The rat put a tack
When the cat turned his back
On the mat where the black cat sat.
A big blue barrel of big blue blueberries.
Does this shop sell socks with spots?
for more advanced readers
- Ask your child to read to you.
- Take turns. You read a paragraph and your child can read the next one, or take turns reading full pages one after the other. Keep in mind that your child may be concentrating on how to read, and your reading helps to keep the story alive.
- If your child has trouble reading words, you can help in several ways:
- have your child skip over the word, read the rest of the sentence, and ask what word would make sense in the story;
- have your child use what is known about letters and the sounds they make to "sound out" the word; or
- supply the word and keep reading: enjoyment is the main goal.
Resources: Information was taken from Helping Your Child Become a Reader and material from the Literacy Council of Alaska. For more information, please contact the National Library of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20208, telephone 1-800-424- 1616.
U.S. Department of Education
Richard W. Riley
Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sharon P. Robinson
National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment
National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students
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