Reading Tips

Reading with your Child

Top Ten Tips for Parents / Guardians

Infants to 1st Class

  1. Read to your child as often as you can
  2. Talk about books / characters / plots
  3. Enrol your child in the local library
  4. Provide a good role model by reading yourself / other family members
  5. Play audio books of familiar stories in the car
  6. Vary the type of books read – stories / poems / information.
  7. Accept your child’s efforts with praise.
  8. Concentrate on what she got right.
  9. Make reading together enjoyable.
  10. Take part in ‘Shared Reading’ (see below).

2nd to 4th Class

  1. Continue to read to your child every day.
  2. Read some of the books your child enjoys so you can discuss them with him/her.
  3. Encourage your child to read to younger siblings.
  4. Ensure that your child knows that you value and enjoy reading yourself.
  5. Make sure there is a wide variety of reading material in your home – newspapers, magazines, information, cookery books etc.
  6. Enrol and encourage your child to visit the local library frequently.
  7. Discuss favourite authors.
  8. Encourage your child to read articles / headlines in newspapers.
  9. Encourage your child to attempt unknown words.
  10. Take part in ‘Shared Reading’ (see below).

5th and 6th Class

  1. Encourage your child to visit the local library as often as possible.
  2. Recognise and praise your child’s efforts in reading.
  3. Ensure your child has access to a wide range of reading material newspapers, magazines, guides etc.
  4. Take an interest in different children’s authors.
  5. Discuss ideas and points of view proposed by newspaper articles etc.
  6. Provide a well-lit, comfortable study / reading area.
  7. Ensure that you value and enjoy reading yourself.
  8. Allow your child to choose his /her own reading material.
  9. Encourage your child to read for information – timetables, weather forecasts, menus, etc.
  10. Encourage your child to attempt unknown words.

Stage One

There are two stages in Shared Reading. The first stage is called Simultaneous Reading.

  • The child selects a story book that appeals to them and is suitable for their reading level.
  • Parent and child read aloud together. The parent paces their reading to the reading speed of the child.
  • In the early stages the child may point with their finger to individual words. This practice can be discontinued as your child grows in confidence.
  • When your child gets a word wrong you should just tell your child what the word is, then your child repeats it after you. Do not make the child struggle to ‘break it up’ or ‘sound it out’.
  • When your child gets words right, smile and show you are pleased and say ‘good’. Don’t worry about the words your child gets wrong.
  • Talk about the pictures. Talk about what is in the book as your child goes through it. It is best to talk at the end of the page or a section or your child might lose track of the story. Ask your child what they think might happen next. Listen to your child – don’t do all the talking.

Stage Two

As the child develops fluency and confidence, the parent’s role will be less supportive.

Parents should gradually lower their voice to allow the child to dominate the reading partnership. Occasionally the parent, using their own judgement, should disengage completely and rejoin as soon as the child begins to struggle or lose confidence. Soon the child will feel sufficiently confident to read alone for longer periods having now
reached the stage of Independent Reading.

  • The child gives an agreed signal such as a nudge to the parent to indicate they are ready to read on their own, or the parent may decide the child is ready for “solo” reading.
  • At this point the parent stops reading and the child continues on their own. Parents will intuitively sense when to stop, even without the signal, as they take note of the confidence and self-assurance of the child.
  • If the child gets a word wrong or begins to struggle, the parent should say the word and the child should repeat it as before. Parent and child continue for a few lines and then the parent stops reading in response to the agreed signal or their own judgement of the child’s fluency.
  • At this stage the session may be extended to fifteen minutes if the child is enjoying it.
  • It will be essential to praise the child’s efforts and success. Praise is much more effective than blame and is the surest guarantee of continued confidence and success.


Praise the child for:

  • Reading all the words in a sentence correctly.
  • Correctly reading difficult words.
  • Correcting their own mistakes before you do (self-correcting).
  • Making a good guess (which may not be 100% right!) when they encounter a new word.

Other hints:

  • Prepare for each reading session by revising the events of the story so far, talking about the characters, pictures etc.
  • These sessions should not be used to develop word-attack strategies but should rather be used to develop reading for meaning and pleasure.
  • Problematic words can be worked at in school.

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