Reading with your child at home

Mother and daughter reading together.

At a glance

  • When your kids see you read and write, it teaches them that reading and writing are useful skills.
  • Reading with your kids at home will help them in all areas of their learning at school.
  • Read together with your kids and have a range of reading material available at home.
  • Try not to let television intrude on reading time.
  • Be confident that your child will learn to read.

Reading in our modern world is more important than ever. When your kids see you reading and writing in everyday life – reading for pleasure, sharing a story with them, using a recipe, making a shopping list, writing a birthday card, reading street signs, or reading and writing emails – it teaches them that reading and writing are useful skills.

Reading with your child at home will help them in all learning areas at school. Often teachers will ask you to listen to your child read at home. This is a good way to support your child's reading. You can borrow books from your school library or your local library.

What parents can do at home to help their kids with reading

  • Be confident that your child will learn to read. Give positive messages and involve them in everyday conversations and opportunities to read.
  • Read aloud to your child. It helps them to learn about the language of books and will encourage them to enjoy books and reading.
  • Read to your child in your home language if your first language is not English.
  • Make reading enjoyable and talk about books, magazines and computer stories that you have read together.
  • Try not to let television intrude on reading time. Make a special time for reading with your child, away from interruptions.
  • Listen to your child read as often as you can, every day if possible, even if only for a short time.
  • Give books in print or electronic form as treats and presents.

Hints for listening to your child read

  • When reading together at home try to make the time relaxed, enjoyable and positive. Vary it. Read together, read to your child and take turns or have them read to you.
  • Before reading, talk about the cover, the title and the pictures, and discuss what the book may be about.
  • During reading, discuss what has been read up to that point and predict what might happen next.
  • After you've finished reading with your child, talk and ask questions about the story and the pictures.

Useful reading tips

When your child is reading and encounters words that are difficult for them, use the Three Ps technique ‘Pause, Prompt, Praise' to support them.

Pause:  when your child comes to a word they don't know, try not to jump in straight away. Wait and give your child time to work out the word.

Prompt: if your child successfully works out the problem word, suggest they go back to the beginning of the sentence and re-read it (to recap meaning) before reading on.

If your child has not worked out the problem word, prompt them with some quick, low-key suggestions. Say things like:

  • "Try reading on for a sentence or two, miss out the difficult word and see if that helps you to work it out."
  • "Look at the sound the word begins with, use that clue, and think about what may make sense here? Look at the pictures."

If prompts like these are not working, simply tell your child the correct word.

Try not to spend too much time prompting, as your child will find it difficult to maintain the overall meaning of what they are reading.

Praise: praise your child's reading efforts and successes.

Things to remember about reading

  • The goal of reading is always to make sense of what is read.
  • Try to be interested, supportive and enjoy the time together.
  • Read with your child anywhere and at any time; don't forget that many everyday experiences provide opportunities to put reading and writing into action.
  • Visit and use a library near you. Borrow books for yourself as well as for your child.
  • Talk to your child's classroom teacher or the principal for further help and advice.

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