Reading Tips for Home

  • Reading Practice

    As with any new skill, the more you practice the better you become. Just like learning to ride a bike, reading also needs to be practiced. Parents can help!

    • Read to and with your child every day.
    • Ask questions about what is being read to make sure your child understands
    • Rereading stories and books is fine.
    • Take your child to the library and stay awhile to read together (then borrow more books to take home).
    • Make reading a priority in your home.
    • Remember, you are your child's most important teacher.  Children learn to do what you do!

    When Your Child Comes To An Unknown Word

    Often adults tell a child to "sound out" an unknown word. Frequently that prompt is successful and the word is decoded. When sounding it out doesn't work, adults usually tell the word and reading continues.

    However, our goal is to help children become independent readers. Here are some alternative suggestions for parents to use when your child confronts an unknown word:

     ** Guess the Covered Word Strategy **
    (From Four-Blocks Literacy Model developed by Pat Cunningham and Dorothy Hall)

    This is a strategy we practice in class.  It teaches students to ask three questions when they find an unknown word.  Cover the word to keep you place (use your finger or a small sticky paper). 

    • Ask:  What makes sense?

    • Look at the word and ask: How long is the word?

    • Ask: What is the beginning letter(s) and the other letters in the word?

    ** Some Other Things To Try **

    • Wait 5-10 seconds to see what attempts are made.  Ask: "What would make sense there?"
    • Use the picture to help figure out the word.
    • Skip the word and continue reading to end of line or sentence.
    • Go back and read sentence again.
    • If the word was on a previous page, go back and try to find it
    • Look for a smaller word in a big one.
    • Cover the ending (-ed, -ing) with your finger and try word.
    • Look how the word begins. Let the sound "pop" right out.
    • Help with blending (sounding it out).
    • Tell the word and keep on reading.

    It is important that children learn to use these strategies independently. When your child "figures out" a word, you might ask how he/she did it. Telling about their reading helps to reinforce learning.

    (Mrs. McGowan, New Jersey)