At Elaine, we use Little Wandle to teach phonics and early reading. The Little Wandle website has links and resources to support parents and carers at home.
Family and home life have an important impact on a child's reading fluency and comprehension skills learning. Children should be reading at home daily (this can be in many forms). Read some tips on how you can help your child with reading.
Build reading into your child's daily routine
Find a regular time for reading in your child’s day, so that they can begin to expect it as part of their routine. This can be any time of day. Some children enjoy reading before bed, but others can just be too exhausted at night. It might be better for some children to read just after dinner, or in the morning after breakfast, when they have more energy. You can encourage your child to track their reading using a weekly reading chart. This will help them celebrate their progress.
Also, create a cosy place in your home that you can call the ‘reading corner’, which can be any size you like. Let your child decorate it with their favourite books and soft toys, so they look forward to going there to read. When you can, try to make sure they see you reading, or read with them, so they know adults read too!
Take breaks while reading
Your child doesn’t have to read an entire book in one go! Any time spent sharing or talking about a book is beneficial, even if it’s just a couple of minutes at a time. If they have to close the book early because it’s time for tea, or they’re just losing interest, that’s okay. Reading can take a lot of mental energy and taking breaks gives children a chance to slowly build the mental stamina they need, so that soon they will be able to read for longer stretches of time.
Technology can provide an important route into reading for many children, including those in the early years, and boys. Feel free, at times, to use your mobile phones, tablets, computers, laptops and other devices to engage your child in reading and activities that can help them build their vocabulary. This can include a multitude of activities, such as:
• Telling a story using pictures on your phone
• Video calling friends and relatives to engage children in conversation
• Using YouTube to find the lyrics to nursery rhymes
• Using apps to read e-books or listen to audiobooks (many organisations are providing them for free during school closures)
Encourage your child to be an author
Build writing and drawing into your routine at home by helping your child tell a story. When telling stories, children are practising important language skills, such as past and future tense and transition words. You can model this behaviour, by telling them stories. Children love to hear stories about your childhood or other experiences, and it gives them inspiration for telling their own stories.
Then, you can show them how to write or draw their story. They can draw it through pictures, or type it on a computer, depending on their age. For some children, becoming the author is the best way to activate their imagination and their interest in stories. Through their writing, you can learn about some of their interests and find books to match!
Have a chat
Research shows that children who engage regularly in conversational turn-taking with an adult learn faster when they’re older. Taking every opportunity to chat with your child will help them build the language and vocabulary skills they need for school. Let your child pick the topic they want to talk about, listen to them, ask questions and share your ideas. You can use daily activities to spark conversation with your child, such as getting dressed or making a meal. You’ll learn a lot about your child’s interests!
Use pictures to help
Pictures are a great support for young and struggling readers. They are enjoyable to look at, capture children’s attention and help them make sense of what they are reading. If your child is unsure about reading all the words in the book, they can start by telling a story using the pictures. Ask your child to describe the pictures they see, ask questions about what the characters are doing and why they might be doing it, and see if they can guess what might happen next. By the end of the book, you may find they have created a whole new and exciting tale!