Great ways to build your child's reading skills

Mother and child reading together

At a glance

  • Try reading with different voices, lots of emotion and invented sound effects.
  • Ask your child which parts of the books they found exciting, funny or different.
  • When kids use the internet they need skills and knowledge that are different from those found in books.
  • When doing homework, tell your child not to copy information word for word from books or the internet.
  • Encourage your child to join the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge.

Simple tips to encourage your child to become a strong reader and a book lover for the rest of their lives.

Share a book at home

Children love to hear a story read aloud. Try reading with different voices, lots of emotion, invented sound effects and funny faces. Change the tone in your voice and vary its loudness or softness. Have fun and enjoy it.      

It's a good idea to practise reading before sharing a book. Listen to your child talk about the story and the pictures. Try asking your child which parts of the books they found exciting, funny or different.           

Give your child the chance to choose a book to read. Try reading to your child and, at other times, ask your child to join in reading the book. 

Let your child hear how 'hill' and 'home' start with the same sound or how 'trouble' and 'bubble' rhyme.

Research the internet

When kids use the internet they need skills and knowledge that are different from those found in books and other printed materials. These skills include such things as links, images, icons and searching. 

The internet is a wonderful resource for finding things to support your child's literacy development. If you are searching for a good book to read to your child, try entering a publisher or an author's name into a reliable search engine such as Google. Some reliable publishers include Scholastic, Penguin, Allen & Unwin and Pan Macmillan. These publishers have their own databases that will allow you to preview recent releases, read sample extracts and covers and read brief overviews. You can also search for books at the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge or the Children's Book Council of Australia.       

Join the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge

Encourage your child to enter in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge to develop their love of reading. To qualify for the challenge kids must read a certain number of books from the selected book lists within a specific time frame. There are hundreds of titles on the book lists that include humour, fantasy, mysteries, poetry, sport and factual books.     

Do literacy homework together

Next time your child has a project to do encourage them to talk with you about it.

Ask them things such as:

  • What the project is about?
  • When it's due?        
  • Where they think they'll start?
  • If they'd like any help?
  • Where they think they'll go to find the information such as the internet or local library?
  • How will the information be presented or published?

Suggest to your child to write a story, oral presentation, PowerPoint, presentation poster or a brochure.

Handy homework hints to build kids' reading skills

  • Tell them not to copy information word for word from books or the internet.
  • Ask your child to write ideas out clearly in their own words.   
  • Suggest your child uses a dictionary along with a spellchecker and grammar check.

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