Reading to Children at Home

 Reading to Children at Home 

Reading with your child at home each day is an invaluable activity with multiple benefits; several studies have shown that parent involvement with reading in the home has a positive effect on children’s language and reading acquisition. Students in year levels as young as prep may bring home readers to read at home in order to practise their reading skills, that is sounding out letters in words (segmenting) and putting them together to make a whole word (blending). Here are some tips in order to get the best out of your child’s reader and encourage essential skills required in order for children to be happy, confident readers. 

  • Start the reading session by saying “let’s read your reader/this book” so that the child understands this will be a team effort, which can be particularly comforting for children who find reading daunting. 
  • After reading the title, suggest what the book might be about and see if your child has any ideas. 
  • Encourage your child to sound out letters. Point to each letter and look expectantly at your child. For example, if your child is trying to read the word ‘dog’, the child should say each sound individually: d-o-g. If your child is unable to blend these sounds together to say the word ‘dog’, you can say: “d-o-g. That’s right that makes the word ‘dog’!” If a sound is incorrect or unknown, point to letters and provide the correct sounds. 
  • Repeat the sentence being read once your child has successfully decoded a word, this time so the child can understand it. It can be a good idea to ask for a prediction. For example if the sentence is “the dog is lost”, ask where your child thinks the dog may have gone. 
  • Focus more on letters and sounds rather than relying only on pictures. As the child reads more challenging texts as they progress through the school system, there will be less and less pictures to rely on. Being able to sound out words means they will be able to pick up any book and read it, with or without pictures. 
  • Enjoy funny parts, surprising twists and happy endings! Reading can be really fun! 


Alison Clarke. (2018). 

Kerry Hempenstall. (2016). Read About it: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading. Centre for Independent Studies Australia. 

Linnea C. Ehri, Simone R. Nunes, Steven A. Stahl and Dale M. Willows. (2001). Systematic Phonics Instruction Helps Students Learn to Read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71(3), 393-447. 

Monique Sénéchal & Laura Young. (2008). The Effect of Family Literacy Interventions on Children’s Acquisition of Reading from Kindergarten to Grade 3: A Meta-Analytic Review. Review of Educational Research, 78(4), 880-907. 

Pamela Snow (2018). 


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