Reading at Home
How should I read to my child?
- Reading with a parent should be a pleasurable experience.
- Many children enjoy a bedtime story but choose a time and place that works for you and your child.
- Keep the ideas that follow below in the back of your mind but keep it fun!
Why should I read to my child?
- The purpose of reading is comprehension. Listening to texts and discussing them supports reasoning skills and helps children become better readers and writers.
- Many children enter into reading by pretending to read the way adults model it for them. Children role play at reading by looking at the illustrations and inventing the text. This is an important step in learning to read. Children begin to use book language, transitional vocabulary and learn to retell stories as they role play at reading.
- Children need to learn how books work. When you read to children, you familiarize them with basic concepts about print. They learn where the front of a book is, that text goes from left to right and other important concepts we take for granted.
- Reading to children also:
- Provides a natural venue for conversation. Encourage children to speak in full sentences and help them articulate their thoughts clearly.
- Presents opportunities for making predictions and logical thinking. Discuss what may happen next, how a character feels, cause & effect, etc.
- Provides occasions for word play and learning new vocabulary. Engage in word play such as rhyming. Explain unfamiliar language.
- Provides authentic contexts for sight words.
- Reinforces conventional grammar.
- Exposes children to new ideas.
What should I read to my child?
Vary the types of books you read with your child. They all serve important purposes.
- Picture books expose children to the basic story elements of character, setting, sequence, and plot. Picture books also vary greatly in length and complexity. Thus, they provide opportunities to stretch your child’s vocabulary and challenge their thinking.
- Repetitive books and rhyming books help develop phonemic awareness. Being able to hear, then ultimately identify and generate rhymes and letter sounds are essential to your child’s reading and writing development.
- Simple books with one or two words on a page reinforce early reading skills such as picture clues, voice/print match and sight words.
- Alphabet books strengthen recognition of upper and lower case letters.
- Nonfiction books provide information about favorite subject matter and new topics. Children are exposed to different types of vocabulary in nonfiction texts. They begin to notice that information books have a different format than storybooks.
- Reread your child’s favorites. This is not only comforting and enjoyable for children but reinforces all the reasons for reading previously stated.
- Atlases and dictionaries also provide additional ways to experience print and many kindergarten children find them intriguing.
Who should pick the books I read to my child?
- Generally, you’ll want to follow your child’s lead but use your judgment.
- Sometimes your child’s teacher will suggest titles for you to read to reinforce a skill (alphabet books for letter identification, story books for comprehension etc.).
As always, feel free to contact your child’s teacher with questions or concerns.