Suggestions to help build your child’s reading skills*:
• Read to your baby for short periods several times a day. As you read, point out things in the pictures. Name them as you point to them. Cardboard or cloth books with large simple pictures of things with which babies are familiar are the best books to begin with.
Children Ages 1-4
• Talk with your child as you read together. Point to pictures and name what is in them. When he is ready, ask him to do the same. Ask him about his favorite parts of the story, and answer his questions about events or characters.
• Wherever you are with your child, point out individual letters in signs, billboards, posters and books. When she is 3 to 4 years old, ask her to begin finding and naming some letters.
• Read predictable books to your child. Teach him to hear and say repeating words, such as names for colors, numbers, letters and animals. Predictable books help children to understand how stories progress. A child easily learns familiar phrases and repeats them, pretending to read.
• Practice the sounds of language by reading books with rhymes and playing simple word games (i.e. How many words can you make up that sound like the word “bat”?)
Children, First Grade
• Point out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, newspapers and magazines.
• Listen to your child read words and books from school. Be patient and listen as he practices. Let him know you are proud of his reading.
Children, Second & Third Grade
• Build reading accuracy by having your child read aloud and point out words she missed and help her read words correctly. If you stop to focus on a word, have your child reread the whole sentence to be sure she understands the meaning.
*Taken from the U.S. Department of Education “Helping Your Child Become A Reader” and The Partnership for Reading “Put Reading First” publications.