Reading to your children is imperative to their development. It is also a wonderful way to bond with your child. Here I lean on my wisdom as both a father and teacher to share my Top 5 Reading Tips when reading with your children.
Reading to your children is imperative to develop your child’s reading and literacy skills. It also aids your child’s emotional and social development and bond with you: the parent.
Practiced regularly it will also raise your child’s reading level at school. This is even more important when according to a national survey, released in 2020 by the National Literacy Trust, children were reading less than ever before.
With this all in mind, I am going to share with you 5 tips I apply, when reading with my children, in hope it benefits other dads who embrace or wish to embrace this magical discipline.
- Read daily.
Read with your child everyday. There is always time for a ‘quick read’!
We read to our daughter from the offset and while she was initially growing up, we’d read at the table over breakfast and dinner, in the garden during play, the lounge on the couch when relaxing or within ‘the den’ alongside the obligatory bedtime read!
Now 7 years old, we read at bedtimes together while she now loves to read independently at any given opportunity. She also takes it upon herself to read to her little brother- very endearing!
Read with your children as often as possible throughout those early years. It’s vital as it builds an invaluable life skill as well as strengthening relationships and building memories with your child.
Read to your children as early as possible in their development and make time for this activity daily.
2. Be conscious of pace
When reading to your child, talk at a calm, friendly pace.
Take the time to put emphasis on the words, the sounds of the letters (phonics) and add emotion within the story/ context while you ‘become each character’ by adding voices for that captivating fun factor!
Applying this aids development of communication skills as you teach understanding of tone and emotion within interpersonal communication skills.
How much you do this, will obviously range dependent on your child’s age and learning level.
3. Consider articulation of your pronunciation!
When reading to your child, maintain clear pronunciation of each syllable within each word, to articulate each word clearly to your children.
If your child discovers a new word or a word they may find difficult to say, try ‘clapping’ the word as you pronounce each syllable to your child.
This technique encourages your child to ‘clap and say’ each ‘part’ of the word clearly, before you repeat the word with your child at the end of this exercise – with claps, so the child learns how to articulate this new found word to add to their ever increasing vocabulary!
The clapping allows your child to understand the breaking down of words to formulate clear articulation / pronunciation of phonics as well embedding the sense of touch, to go alongside sight and hearing, to aid the absorption of this new found information quicker.
This technique is also used when teaching speech and language development in schools!
4. Identify items on each page
No doubt you already do this but when reading with your child build vocabulary by identifying the images upon each page.
Again, pronounce the object / picture accordingly; breaking down the phonics & syllables if necessary to aid your child to learn how to say this.
Remember to identify the nouns on each page and you can expand on this learning by including adjectives eg) Look at the BIG RED car etc.
You can then extend this learning further by explaining the verb action to your child alongside any emotions being expressed eg) the happy big red car is moving fast etc, to further develop your child’s vocabulary and understanding of recognising objects and emotion.
5. Promote independence & speech.
Firstly, aid the development of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills by asking your child to ‘turn’ each page when reading.
Secondly to aid develop your child’s speech, encourage them to ‘Fill in the Gaps’ when you read each page!
After a few reads of a book to your child your child will begin to becomes familiar with a story. At this point, leave room for your child to fill in the gaps at the end of each page!
They will know the vocabulary, the story and the ‘end words’ more than you realise.
Pause while you read and wait for your child to try and ‘fill in the blanks’ by encouraging them to say the resulting word in the story.
Initially use this strategy for every ‘end word’ at the end of each sentence/ page.
The more familiar your child gets with the story, you can then ‘pause’ at different words throughout for your child to ‘fill in’ independently.
Remember to be patient and to allow your child to process this with every pause.
If it helps, prompt them with the initial phonetic sound of the word to encourage them.
I hope you have found this advice useful and do please leave a comment or send us feedback if you have find this article beneficial.
In future articles I shall share some good books to read with your children.
At the end of the day, whatever and however you choose to do it – just read with your child and enjoy the experience.
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