Reading and Writing with Your Child
Children are more likely to become good readers and writers when their families actively support them
When you and other family members read with your children, help them with homework, talk with teachers, and participate in school or other learning activities, you are helping them make the best start in becoming confident and successful readers.
At home, you and your family can help by talking, listening, and reading to and with your children every day and by showing them that you use and enjoy reading in your lives.
- Read to your child every day. Share as many books together as you can.
- Sometimes take turns reading parts of a favorite story.
- If your child gets stuck on a word he could sound out, run your finger across the word to help him look at every letter in sequence and build the word from the sounds. Then ask, “would (that word) make sense?”
- Talk about the pictures and details that catch your child’s interest. This will help with understanding the story and learning what new words mean.alt
- Run your finger from left to right under the words as you read together. This allows your child to see the sequence of letters across the words at the same time he hears them.
- If your child can’t read a word, avoid making a fuss. Either say the word yourself or encourage your child to think about what it might say. Draw attention to the letters of the word and the meaning of the story. For beginning readers, it’s more important that your child enjoys sharing stories and working things out with you than getting every word right.
- Play alphabet and sound game such as I Spy. Children learn a lot about words, letters, and sounds through these simple games.
- Write notes or messages to your child — it’s a great way to get children to focus on written messages and to learn about words.
Writing with your child
Writing with your child is just as important as reading. It allows your child to create messages, to explore the sounds of language, how to write them, and to learn sentence structures. You can make opportunities for writing at home. If you carry a notebook and pen with you, your child can write a little story for you during waiting times like a doctor’s appointment, a bus ride, or while you are busy preparing a meal.
Content adapted with permission from Institute of Education, University of London
These ideas are suitable for readers of different ages. Choose those that suit your child’s interests and abilities.
Waiting games (PDF)