Reading with your child and reading to your child

Reading with your child and reading to your child

The reading practice your child gains from reading the books they bring home from school every night is invaluable for their reading development. Some strategies that you can implement at home to support your child’s reading while they read to you include:

Encourage your child to sound out letters. For example, for the word ‘dog’, the child should say each sound individually: d-o-g. If they struggle to blend the sounds together, provide assistance by saying: “d-o-g. That’s right, that makes the word ‘dog’!” If a sound is incorrect or unknown, point to the letters and provide the correct sounds.

Encourage your child to focus on letters and sounds rather than relying on pictures. Relying on pictures may encourage your child to ‘guess’ the word instead of actually read the word on the page (Hempenstall, 2016).

Not only can you support your child with the reading process (lifting the word off the page to read it and understand it’s meaning) but you can also have discussions about the book they are reading.

Discussion ideas when you are reading with your child:

Discuss the cover, the author, and the illustrator.

Ask questions about the book. Questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” and “Why do you think that will happen?” can build inferencing and reasoning skills.

Discuss the storyline and the pictures. This can help develop your child’s critical thinking and comprehension skills. It encourages them to think about the narrative and make connections to their own experiences.

Talk about new and unfamiliar words. This will enhance their understanding of new words and may support their ability to use a wider range when they are speaking or writing.

Along with reading with your child, it is also good practice to read to your child. Researchers Mol and Bus (2011) found that shared book reading can “Facilitate children’s language, reading, and spelling achievement throughout their development”. Bedtime stories, where a book or part of a book is read each night, encourage children to engage with books and build vocabulary and language skills.


Mol, S. E., & Bus, A. G. (2011). To read or not to read: a meta-analysis of print exposure from infancy to early adulthood. Psychological bulletin, 137(2), 267–296.

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