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Caroline Dennigan

Caroline Dennigan Blog Posts
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3 minutes reading time (603 words)

Top tips for building reading skills


Reading skills are among the most important and necessary learning skills, and as a parent, you have a huge impact on how quickly your child learns to read. Studies have shown that reading out loud to children on a regular basis produces significant gains in comprehension, vocabulary, and the understanding of words. 

Reading opens up doors to a whole new world full of knowledge, adventure, culture and diversity.

Here are 10 simple yet effective tips for building and improving your child's progress in reading, which will not only develop reading skills but also a curiosity and desire to learn.

1- Create a reading nook.

This is great fun for everyone to get involved in. Make a spot for reading that is both comfortable and cosy. The reading nook could be anything from a few scatter cushions in the corner of a room to something more elaborate. If you have a garden, create an outdoor space for warm days.

As an added benefit, a cosy and comfortable reading nook can lower stress levels, especially important when starting a new school for example.

2-Bedtime story.

Reading a bedtime story probably has more benefits than you could ever imagine. As well as the all-important bonding and bringing out a child's imagination, research shows that reading a bedtime story improves logical thinking and boosts your child's brain development.

3- Take it in turns to read aloud.

Reading aloud not only improves reading comprehension but because it is slower to read aloud, it allows your child to process what they have read.

4-Discuss the book.

Talking about the book helps your child to remember and consider the theme of the book. For example, you could ask questions about the main character, the outcome, what was their favourite part of the book and why.

5-Keep it varied.

Vary the reading material. Variety is a great way to develop different reading skills and introduce more challenging books and new topics.

Joke books. Cookery books. Newspaper articles. Poetry. Maps. Comics. Fiction and nonfiction. Pamphlets etc.

6-Create a library habit.

Encourage your child to read more by taking them to the library every couple of weeks to get new and exciting reading material. Libraries are full of story and information books to delight and enthuse a love of reading and learning in children.

Most libraries have activity programs and reading challenges especially during the half-term and holiday periods.

7-Family reading time.

Set aside 15 to 30 minutes every day when all the family reads together silently. Seeing you read and enjoy reading will spur your child to read too.

Just 15 minutes of daily practice will sufficiently increase your child's reading fluency.

8- Look out for any reading problems.

Check that your child can sound out words, knows sight words, uses context to identify unknown words and clearly understands what they read. It's important that any difficulties with reading are addressed as early on as possible to ensure your child doesn't struggle to keep up in the classroom.

9- Be enthusiastic.

Your reaction has a great influence on how hard your child will try to become a good reader.

10- Surround your child with reading material.

Have a large array of reading material in the home. Include books, magazines, encyclopedias, poetry and even maps - The map could take you and your child on a fact finding mission around the globe.

For more in-depth posts on practical ways you can help your child to improve their reading skills, go to 'READ WITH YOUR CHILD', and also PHONICS: a 5 step guide for parents

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