There will be subtle signs you might notice that your child is ready to read. She might look at the words as you read to her instead of simply paying attention to the pictures. Your child might point to words she is beginning to recognize as you read aloud. Whatever the signs may be, you want to be ready for this special time! Here are some helpful tips for parents and caregivers on how to support their growing readers.
1. Before reading a book, take a picture walk with your child. Have her look at the pictures in the book and ask a question and/or make predictions as to what she thinks might be happening in the story. Ask questions before, during and after reading. This will help with reading comprehension.
2. There are words known as high frequency words, sight words, and word wall words (these terms are used interchangeably). These are words your reader needs to know on sight. They can not be read phonetically. I will list activities to help your child memorize their sight words in ways other than the traditional flash card method in next month’s post.
3. When your child comes to a word she does not know, do not give her the unknown word! Instead, ask her to:
- Sound it out
- Break the word into parts of “chunks” Ch-ip-s
- Try using a different vowel sound (long/short)
- Use illustrations for clues to infer the word
- Skip the word, re-read the sentence try again. Ask yourself, what word would make sense here?
Here are two bookmarks you can print to keep with you as a reminder of these strategies. You will see that most kindergarten and early elementary teachers will use these same strategies when teaching reading.