Why is it important to read?
Research shows that learning to read-and loving reading-is directly linked to children's success at school and beyond. Reading books aloud to children stimulates both their understanding and imagination and expands their understanding of the world.
It helps them to develop language and listening skills and prepares them to understand the written word. Even after children learn to read by themselves, it's still important for you to read aloud together.
How can I help my children learn to read?
Letters and words are all around us. Look out for letters while you are out and in the environment around you. When teaching children the letter sounds ask your child's class teacher for the action used to help the child visualise the sound. Encourage children to say the pure sound not the name. Do not make them too long, e.g. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, it is a short m and not a continuous sound-mmmmm. Try not to add extra sounds onto the speech sound, it is m not m-uh.
Talk, talk, talk! As a parent, you are the model of good speaking and listening. You could try introducing a new word (vocabulary) each week. Instead of saying the word big, try using an alternative word like 'huge, enormous'.
Read to and with your child, this really does promote reading enjoyment and also models to your child what good reading skills are. Have a set time when you read every day, make it special for your child, choose a range of books. Visit our school community library or Ilkeston library, this way you can borrow a range of different type of books that you can swap regularly. Read the same story over and over again! Your child will love it and probably know it off by heart but this helps them with retelling story events. Ask your child questions about what they have just read, why, how, who. Ask them to tell you their favourite bit of the story-read that part again.
How to support boys who are dis-engaged with reading at home.
Research suggests boys are less engaged with reading than girls, this is something that we need to change; boys will be brilliant, rather than boys will be boys!
The best role-models seem to be dads, sports coaches, athletes. Men that boys aspire to be. If they experience these men reading and sharing their love of books then reading is not seen as a female occupation.
Boys need motivating, exciting and re-engaging. With the technology available now there are many different eBooks that your child can relate to. Have a look at www.oxfordowl.co.uk and https://www.getepic.com/ for many free eBooks that your child could access with you on their tablet or computing device.
Where to get more support from.
Often in school we hear that children don't want to read at home, our advice is not to force this, we want reading to be fun and enjoyable, not a chore. Perhaps start by reading them a story they enjoy listening to then and ask them to help you with words or letters you are unsure of. Make it a time that they can get snuggly with you in a nice quiet environment, in no time they will be asking you to read!
Your child's class teacher will always be available to offer help and support with reading at home. You can speak to them at anytime and they will be able to support you with ideas and solutions to encourage your child to read at home.