I love books with a passion, says Sheina Wright, Head of Prep. Reading was part of my upbringing. It was my hobby in the same way that rugby might be someone’s hobby. But children don’t always engage with reading. So how can you support and encourage reluctant readers or help your child progress with their reading? Here are a number of simple but tried and tested ways!
This is a great activity to do with younger children. Muddle up a favourite story using pictures or pictures and simple words and trying to reorder them together.
Pictures are a great aid too. You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase ‘every picture tells a story’, well that couldn’t be more true. Whether they be drawings or photos, images can help everyone’s reading comprehension from age two to 22! Choose an image and ask the following questions:
- What is happening?
- What happened before?
- What will happen next?
- What impression do you get of the character? (discuss character traits)
- What is their name?
- How are they feeling? (this is great for developing empathy)
- What is the setting?
Another useful technique is ‘PEEL’. Use this when answering tricky comprehension questions.
P = Point – What is the question asking? Identify question words. Consider characters mentioned.
E = Evidence – Find evidence from the text to back your thoughts and answers.
E = Explain – Explain your evidence.
L = Link – Link it back to the question.
When you can, gather round those little tables in book shops and get excited about new book releases. Read those weekly email reviews about books and get excited about ordering a new book.
Follow your child’s interests and be aware of their fluency. Select books which are pitched to their abilities so there is a level of fluency rather than frustration. Like most things if the narrative you give your child (of reading) is a positive one then their relationship with books and literature is more likely to be a positive one too.
Be a reading role model
We are all readers. Whenever you can, try and be a reading role model. Whatever you’re reading give the message to your child that reading is something to be valued and enjoyed.
Lessons from our kitchen table: Parent Workshop on Reading
Please watch our parent workshop on reading where our Head of Prep, Sheina Wright, provides an insight into the processes involved in learning to read and the collection of skills that teachers help children develop to become independent readers, and approaches that you can use to encourage a love for reading at home. To watch, this and others in our series, please click here.