It's a thrill to hear your little one begin to sound out words and read stories on his own, but it can be difficult to listen to his halting pronunciation, missed words, and other mistakes. How can you help your child learn without stifling his confidence or turning reading time into a chore? The tips below will help parents instill confidence while making read-aloud time fun for everyone. A great chance to put this advice into practice is World Read Aloud Day, on February 1. Check out our recommended read-alouds for the big day — because raising kids who love to read starts with a great, engaging story
- Use pictures as helpers. Reviewing the pictures in a storybook before reading it can give your child an idea of what the text will be about.
- Be a drama queen. When you're the one doing the reading, use lots of expression—really put on a show! This will encourage your child to do the same when he reads. If he can, you'll know he's understanding the words he's reading, and not simply parroting them.
- Bite your tongue — most of the time. If your child is making it through most words, but doing it at a snail's pace, be patient and let her carry on. She needs the practice. Frequent interruptions can interfere with comprehension and the pleasure of reading.
- Speak up for sense. An exception to the stay-mum rule: Gently correct your child if he alters the meaning of a sentence by skipping or substituting an important word.
- Help with stumpers. If your child encounters a new or difficult word that is key to understanding the sentence or passage she's reading, or that recurs frequently, step in to pronounce and define it for her.
- Answer appeals. When he asks for help, give it. Encourage him to figure words out on his own, but if he's genuinely stumped, come to his aid so he doesn't get frustrated.
- Encore! When she finishes a passage or a story, ask her to read it again. Your interest is a confidence-booster, and the extra practice with familiar text will also boost both her skills and her self-esteem.
- Notice patterns. If your child repeats the same kinds of errors frequently, you can mention this to the teacher. A pattern of similar mistakes may be a sign of trouble. The teacher can help you diagnose an issue and get help quickly.