Ready to Read: Parent’s Guide

Parent’s Guide to Reading with Your Child

Reading together is magical. As you discover adventures between the covers of a book, you also discover things about each other. And with every page you turn, your child expands vocabulary, comprehension, reasoning, grammar and other skills.

Get Close
When you cuddle with your child while reading a story, your child begins to associate reading with a sense of security. Children learn better when they feel safe.
Provide Sound Effects
Use silly voices and sounds to keep your child interested in the story. Hearing different sounds in language also helps your child develop critical listening skills. Try singing, too!
Make Connections (1)
Help your child connect the words you are reading and the words she is hearing. Follow along with your finger as you read to show how print moves from left to right. Point out the pictures in the book and ask your child what they see. Ask him open-ended questions, like “What do you think will happen next?” or “What would you do?”
Make Connections (2)
Letters and words surround us. Children need experience with all kinds of print - from shopping lists to the Internet to street signs. Point out letters and words around you. Connect the letter symbol to the name of the letter.
Read It Again
Children need to hear favorite stories over and over. This helps them recognize and remember words. It also helps them learn how to predict what’s coming next. Most importantly, as kids become familiar with a story, it gives them confidence about reading and improves their comprehension and background knowledge.
Keep It Active
Let your child touch and hold the book. Ask her to help you turn the pages. And you don’t always have to sit when you read or listen to a story. Try clapping out a fun rhyme or dancing to a silly poem.
Be Creative
Too tired to hold a book? Tell a story that you know, or make one up together. Making up a story with your child stimulates creativity. It’s also a nice change.
Read with Expression
Provide sound effects and show enthusiasm.
Encourage
Encourage your toddler to point out objects, repeat words, and talk about the story.
Dialogic (shared) Reading
Use the technique of dialogic (shared) reading to help a child stay actively involved with a story and develop reading comprehension. Instead of reading the story straight through, ask the child open-ended questions about the story: “Why do you think Goldilocks ate Baby Bear’s porridge?” “What do you think will happen next?” Encourage ‘picture walking’; allow your child to retell the story using the illustrations as guides.
Read or Tell…
stories in the language you are most comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be English!
Help Your Child Develop Phonological Awareness
The understanding that words are made up of smaller sounds–by playing games with the sounds of words and repeating rhymes.

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