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Reading Together With Your Child: Tips and Benefits

To celebrate and inspire the love of reading, “International Children’s Book Day” was created and takes place every year on April 2nd. If you realize that you had missed that day, why not consider making every day “International Children’s Book Day” by getting in the habit of reading together with your child? Studies have shown that the amount of reading (reading volume) is directly related with a student’s future academic success. Reading together is not only a great bonding time between parent and child but can also strengthen a child’s writing, listening and creativity skills at the same time.

Tips for reading

Before Reading:

The first and most important thing is to choose a book that your child will be interested in. If you want reading to be habitual and to increase reading volume, your child needs to be motivated. What are they into? Are they interested in superheroes, princesses or certain animals? Start from their interests and let them gradually explore different genres of books as you go along.

When you have selected a suitable book and sit down to start reading, preview the book first by reading the title and the author’s name. Next, examine the book cover by looking at the title and the illustration. For example, if the title was ‘Stranger in the Woods’ and the picture shows two deer looking at a snowman, ask them to guess who could be the stranger. This small activity can help develop a child’s reading comprehension and observational skills.

Other tips do do before reading are:

  • Flip through the pages and let them look at the pictures. Ask them to explain what they think is going on just by looking at the illustrations.

  • Pick an interesting point from the story and ask what they think might happen next. With their curiosity heightened, they will be more eager to find out the answer.

Mini booklets we gave out to students

During reading:

Teach your child to ‘track print’ by using your finger to follow the words. Let them see the directional movement of words. Another thing to to do is stop and point out when you see an uppercase or lowercase letter. Develop their skill to recognize what a sentence is and how it is constructed.

Other tips to do during reading are:

  • For older children, take turns with them to read a page or a paragraph and let them build up their confidence.

  • Develop their ‘inquisitive skills’ by having them reflect on what they read by asking questions like

  • “I wonder why…”

  • “What will happen to the…”

  • “Why is the little girl frowning in that picture…”

  • “How does the dog feel now that…”

  • Have them make connections to the book. Model a connection first by giving an example like

  • “I know how that character feels! I remember when I fell and hurt my knee…”

After reading:

For younger children, try playing a game that can help them distinguish sounds you might have come across while reading. For example, if you read the word ‘dog’ have them tell you which word is different when you say something like ‘dog,dog,dot’. Another idea is to pick a word with the same middle sound and ask them to tell you which one is different when you say something like “pig,sit,zap”.

For older children, you can encourage them to write and illustrate their favourite scene. Have them use words that they learnt from the story to help them build up their vocabulary bank. You can also ask them to verbally summarize the story and discuss the main points with them, which is an important skill that will be helpful when they start reading more lengthy texts.

Lastly, make reading become a habit. When reading becomes habitual it will become more natural and relaxed. By making reading together an activity, you are showing your child that reading is important. So don’t wait until April 2nd to inspire reading in your child, start now!

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