At Minchinbury Public School every child is encouraged to read at least 10 minutes a day as part of their homework contract. Regular reading is rewarded through the Reading Club, which celebrates milestones counted in the number of days a child has read. Even with incentives such as certificates, book marks and recognition at assemblies, it is not easy for the humble book to compete against TV, Wii, iPods, Playstations let alone the many organised activities that children do after school.
Why is reading so important?
Reading is the primary skill on which all education depends. Whether your child is interested in science, mathematics, history or art, reading plays a vital role. All formal education as well as the modern work force relies on competent readers.
What is the role of parents?
As parents you are your child’s first teacher. Even before your child comes to school, you can influence how your child’s attitude towards reading. Research shows that reading aloud to children is a key predictor in reading success. Children of any age benefit from you reading aloud – even those in year 6! Some children need to be encouraged to read. Our aim is to turn even reluctant readers into life-long readers. As an enthusiastic parent you have the opportunity to influence your child’s attitude towards reading.The most important part is an enjoyable daily routine. There are no hard and fast rules, just whatever works for you and your family. If you speak a language other than English at home, read in your own language too. For some people the best time to read will be night time just before falling asleep, for others it will be in the bath, yet others may find it best to sit down after dinner in a comfortable and quiet spot. Your aim is to build and celebrate success, so remember to praise, praise, praise!
What should my child read?
- The only rule is, listen and be guided by your child.
- Ask your child’s teacher what books your child has enjoyed.
- Visit the school library or the public library together to borrow books. Below is a link to Blacktown City libraries. http://www.libraries.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/branches/mt-druitt.cfm
- Try many different types of books and see what appeals.
- Read beyond the book! Reading does not always have to involve reading a book. It can be reading instructions, pamphlets, brochures, magazines, cookbooks, song lyrics, DVD covers and even comics! If your child loves computers, why not read a book on the Internet? Try http://en.childrenslibrary.org
- Reread books. Some children really enjoy reading books over and over. Just remember it will help with their speed and fluency.
- Look up lists such as the Premier’s Reading Challenge, The Children’s Book Council of Australia and the Australian School Library Association. https://products.schools.nsw.edu.au/prc/booklist/home.html http://cbca.org.au/awards.htm
- Finally, if your child does not like a book, there is no reason to finish it. Put it aside and find something else of interest. Remember, reading time should be an enjoyable time together, not a battle.
How can I help my child to read?
You may wish to read to your child, take turns in reading, or even read passages together in unison. Mix it up and keep it interesting. Encourage your child to choose books they can read. The five finger rule is a useful trick to teach. Ask your child to read the first page for themselves. Every time your child comes across an unknown word, tell them to raise one finger. If by the end of the page they have more than five fingers in the air, the book is too difficult for them to read. If your child does choose a book that is too difficult, you could summarise parts, skip sections or adapt it to suit your needs. Remember, if it is too difficult for a child to understand, you need to do the reading and explain!
- Have plenty of reading material to choose from.
- Let your child choose the book.
- Make sure both of you are comfortable.
- Look at the cover together, read the title and the author.
- Think of things to listen for when reading the book.
- Ask questions such as:
What do you think the book might be about?
Where does it take place?
Have you read a similar story?
- Move your finger along the words if reading aloud to a young child.
- Alter your voice to take on characters and encourage your child to do the same when reading.
- Show and talk about illustrations in the book.
- Ask your child to predict what will come next.
- Discuss the characters, encourage your child to visualise characters and scenes.
- Simplify words or add extra information to help your child understand the text.
- Explain new words, finds synonyms (similar words) and encourage your child to use the new word.
- Respond to questions.
- Ask questions about the story, but keep it light. Reading at home should be fun.
- Act out scenes from the story.
- Discuss the feelings of characters.
- Ask about the favourite part of the story.
- Follow up the story with a related activity – a DVD about the story or a trip to a farm to see farmyard animals encountered in the book etc.
- Draw or paint scenes from the book, or make models if relevant.
Using the Pause - Prompt - Praise strategyPause, Prompt, Praise is a strategy which can be used to encourage children to self-correct when reading aloud.This is how it works. When a child gets stuck on a word -
Pause (silently count to 5)
You may say something like:
- Try reading the sentence to the end.
- What could that word be? What would make sense here?
- Try that again.
- Does that sound right?
- Does that look right?
- If after two prompts there is no response or incorrect responses, say, ‘the word is.’’
It is always important to praise and encourage children in their learning. Be specific and sincere in your praise.
- I like the way you read that sentence.
- I liked the way you worked that out.
- Well done, that sounds right now.
- hat makes sense and it looks right too.
- I like the way you varied your voice.
- You remembered to stop at full-stops. Good work!