A Guide to Reading with Your Child

A Guide to Reading with Your Child

A Guide to Reading with Your Child

Recently, I had a clear out of my old teaching documents and came across a guide to reading with your child. Myself and the other Kindergarten teachers used this with parents to promote positive reading experiences. After rereading it I thought it was still very valid so I have updated it and added it below. It starts with the teacher’s role when reading with children but most the post is what parents can do to support their child’s reading in positive ways.
Let me know in the comment section if you have used any of the tips successfully when reading with your child. If you have any other strategies please share them!

The Teacher's Role

When a teacher listens to children read, they are checking how they are reading. For example,
  • Are they using phonic or picture clues?
  • Do they comprehend the story?

The Parent's Role

When reading with your child a parent’s role is to support them. Reading in a less pressurised environment is essential. If parents can practise reading at home, this gives the teacher more time to teach.
  • Reinforce and praise your child when they succeed, but also in their efforts when trying to read. The risk of making an error is very difficult for some children. It is important they know it is more important to try to work out the words than to read perfectly every time.
  • If the book is too hard, your child will not be successful and they will get frustrated. They should read a book at the proper instructional level with 93% accuracy. Stop reading if a child makes over five mistakes in a passage of 50 or 60 words. Frustration will only reduce their desire to read.

Below you will find 6 different areas of reading where you can positively support your child improve their reading.

*Disclosure: Amazon, Book and Depository buttons are affiliate links. I will earn a small percentage of any purchases made. It won’t cost you anything!

Looking at the Pictures

Before beginning a new book with your child, give them time to look through all the pictures. Children often get clues from the illustrations that help them put the text into the correct context. When they come to a word they don’t know, the pictures might be just the clue they need to make the connection to the print.

Guessing Words​

Learning to guess words is an important reading skill. Here are some ways you can help your child figure out an unknown word.
  • Talk about the book before you read it.
  • Look carefully at the pictures.
  • Look and say the sound of the first letter of the unknown word. Be careful about sounding out every letter, particularly of long words. Sometimes it is better to move on from this strategy and use other suggestions.
  • What word would make sense?
Usually one or all of these tactics will help your child make a sensible guess, and with practice, they will be able to use these clues without your help.

Remember to always praise a good guess even if it is not the exact word.

Here are some of my favourite picture books with descriptive vocabulary and wonderful illustration to aid the reading process.

Prompts and Waiting

Using prompts helps children think about words and the story. Children need to think about the text in a variety of ways. Strategies that use context, phonemic awareness and word/letter knowledge are all necessary to become solid readers.
Two basic prompts are:
“Try that again” or “Check it”.
Expect and encourage your child to do the work when reading. WAIT for them to respond. This is very hard to do, but it may take your child that much time to process the print on the page.
If the child still cannot read the word, simply say the word and let them read on.
It is more important that the flow of the story not be broken than for every word to be said correctly. Do not correct every errorespecially if the child’s substitutions make sense to the story.


When a child stops, repeats, or returns to a previous line or page to ‘fix’ something they have read, it is called self-correction.

This shows your child has an awareness of their own reading and is essential for their development of good reading strategies.

Provide specific praise when they practice self-correction. For example:

  • “I liked how you noticed that baseball didn’t make sense and you went back and tried again. The word basketball made more sense, didn’t it?”
  • “I liked how you figured out that ‘c’ makes and ‘s’ sound in the word price and you fixed it by yourself.”

Check for Understanding

To encourage comprehension, children need to respond to what they have read.
After finishing a story, take some time to discuss what they have read. Here are some ideas:
  • Discuss their favourite part of the story.
  • Re-tell the story again in their own words.
  • Ask them if they have ever felt like (character‘s name) and see if their answer makes sense.
  • What is the character’s goal/mission? How did they achieve their goal?
  • Why did the character make this choice? Could they have made a better choice?
  • If they have trouble remembering, start them off and then ask, “What happened next?” Or revisit pages in the book to trigger responses.

Sight Words

To help your child learn to read the common sight words. For example, you could make sentences together using high-frequency words. Your child may like to illustrate these. Always write with lowercase letters except where a capital letter is appropriate.

There are hundreds of games that support learning sight words. Here are a few I have used in the classroom.


…relax and enjoy reading with your child. Your child’s progress in reading depends on their enjoyment. If reading becomes a chore or an opportunity to fail, rather than succeed, it will affect your child’s reading development. If reading isn’t fun, we aren’t doing it correctly!

A Guide to Reading with Your Child
A Guide to Reading with Your Child

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