Top reading tips for parents of primary school children

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Children should be encouraged to read widely.

Primary School is a crucial period for children to develop reading and writing skills.

Edith Cowan University (ECU) education researchers say the best thing parents can do to support their children’s learning is pick up a book and get involved.

School of Education Lecturer Helen Adam says reading together with children is the best way to support what they are learning in the classroom.

Ms Adam’s offers five top tips for parents of primary school aged children:

1. Read to and with your children

“By reading to your children, they can be exposed to books that they might not yet be able to read on their own.

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“This, in turn, exposes them to more complex ideas, vocabulary and content that they can talk and think about.

“Actively discuss the books you are reading and the books they are reading themselves, including their home readers.”

2.  Ask your children questions about what you read with them

“Some of the best questions to ask are questions you do not know the answer to yourself.

“For example, ‘what would you do in that situation?’ or ‘what do you think will happen next?’.

“These questions help children actively engage with the textby encouraging them to think and talk critically about what is being read and to make connections to their own life and the world. This type of discussion is strongly linked to increased comprehension skills.”

3. Set a good example

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“Be a role model of good reading practices for your children. Show them by your own actions, and through discussion, that reading can be done for pleasure, as well as to gain knowledge.

“There is strong evidence that children who are exposed to positive literacy practices at home experience greater success in their own learning journey.

4. Encourage them to read widely

“Encourage your children to read a wide variety of texts in addition to their assigned reading.

Two good resources for finding quality books are the Children’s Book of Council of Australia Awards’ website and book review site

In addition, join your local library and make library visits a part of your routine.”

5. Encourage a variety of strategies when tackling unknown words

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“Rather than just telling your child what an unfamiliar word means, encourage them to try to decode the meaning themselves.

“When your child stumbles on a word encourage them with prompts such as “does it look like any other words you know or any letter patterns you know?”, “ can you read on and then work out what the word means?” and “is there anything else on the page that helps you work out the information?”

“By doing this you are reminding them of the strategies they have been taught at school and helping them to practice these important skills and to gain confidence.”

(Source: Edith Cowan University)

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Date Created: September 15, 2014 Date Modified: September 16, 2014