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Helping Your Child At Home (Paired Reading & Independent Reading)

Reading at Home

The below method of reading is called ‘paired reading’. Research has shown that children who do paired reading with their parents show reading improvement at three times the speed of children who don’t do paired reading. Paired reading allows children to choose interesting material, to control the amount of help they get from their parent and to be praised for success. It also allows a parent to enjoy their children’s success without the drudgery of labouring over mistakes. Above all, regular reading improves accuracy, pace, fluency, and confidence.  
  • Allow your son to choose his own book/comic etc. 
  • Ensure the text is neither too difficult nor under-challenging.
  • Sit side by side so both of you can see the book.
  • Begin by reading the text together. Adjust your speed and rhythm so that you are both reading in-time together. You should correct any errors or stops by modelling the correct pronunciation of the appropriate word.
  • When your son is ready to read alone, he should tap you on the arm.
  • If he gets a word incorrect, don’t let him struggle for more than 5 seconds. Just tell your child the word. Then allow him to read it correctly and praise him for it. Don’t analyse the word phonetically or try to teach the correct spelling at this point.
  • Do not read for more than 15 minutes. Discuss the story afterwards. Ask questions posed by the story to determine comprehension. Answer any questions your child may have.
  • Most importantly, be patient. Speak in a quiet, calm voice. Make directions short and simple.  
We hope you find the above helpful and enjoy the experience of sharing in your child’s learning.   How do I know if  a text is appropriate for my child's reading level for independent reading?

Parents often ask how to tell if a text is appropriate for their child for independent reading; challenging, but not frustratingly so. It is very straight forward. Pick any book and ask your child to read aloud one full page of the text in question. Listen for times when he has to slow down to sound out words, or can’t sound out the word. A little bump is okay if he self-corrects quickly. However, if he says, “What’s this word?” “How do you say this?” or “I don’t know this one,” take note. Tell him the word, and let him carry on. If he has 5 or more mistakes on one page, the text is too difficult for independent reading at this time, and an easier book should be selected for now.
As your child progresses in his reading fluency, he will develop the ability to know which words are still giving him trouble. When he can begin to consistently recognize that a word he is reading doesn't fit semantically, and knows that he cannot decipher it alone, he can begin to use the five finger rule himself when he is trying to self-select texts. It is important to stress to the child that just because a book is too difficult right now, it doesn’t mean that they are inadequate, or that it will always be too difficult. Let him know everyone has to crawl before they can walk.   Sometimes, there is that one book that is all the rage and your child just wants so badly to be on board with his peers who are "reading" it (More often than not, pretending to read it to impress everyone.) Rather than allow your child to spend his silent reading time pretending to devour a chapter book that he cannot yet get through the first page of independently, why not use it as a read-aloud? Your adult skill and expertise in reading, when modelled through this story, is a critical component in his reading development. He will learn intonation, voice, and conveying emotion. He can discuss plot twists and expand vocabulary through his questions. He will still be able to discuss the story with his friends, ostensibly with more insight than they may have. And people--children and adults alike--never outgrow the love of being read to. So spend some quality time reading to your (even older) child and watch his vocabulary --and the bond between you--grow!   If struggling for choice, at the bottom of this page, you will find a list of recommended reading for each year group. Your child should however feel free to pick and choose from whichever level he is most comfortable.     What about reading comprehension?   Reading comprehension is an important element of reading. It's all very well being able to decode words but what's the point if you don't retain or understand what you have read. Please click here for information on what 'reading comprehension' is and how to help your child with reading comprehension at home.   What causes problems of reading comprehension?
  • word level decoding skills
  • reading fluency
  • vocabulary knowledge
  • grammatical skills
  • ability to make inferences
  • knowledge of the world
  • knowledge of story structure and text format
  • comprehension monitoring and error correction strategies 
Reluctant Readers   High Interest Reading Material (Hi-Lo Books)

Allow children to choose their own reading material. Sometimes young people become disengaged from reading because they lose interest in the content of the texts they are reading. Many traditional books assigned in schools as well as textbooks fail to capture the interest of today’s children because they are used to fast paced movies, video games and Internet sites. Parents can employ high interest reading materials to help spark an interest in reading in these children. High interest texts are usually fairly non-traditional. They often focus on “edgy” topics or include a great deal of action. In addition, they may not look like a traditional book. There are a number of excellent graphic novels and higher-level picture books that are designed to engage reluctant readers. While it may seem that these texts “dumb down” reading, they do not. They may be slightly below a reader’s independent reading level, but they provide valuable experiences with reading. Plus, they can serve as a stepping stone towards more traditional and sophisticated texts. The goal in using high interest reading material is to jump start a reluctant reader’s interest in reading.

Role Modeling

Most importantly, read to your child every day. And make sure your child continues to see you and your family reading. The power of modeling successful and enjoyable reading experiences for reluctant readers cannot be denied. When those a reluctant reader looks up to model reading and reinforce its importance, he is more likely to begin reading.

Strategies for Supporting Boys 

As boys seem to be more likely than girls to become reluctant readers, research has been conducted to determine what causes them to turn their backs on reading. Researchers have found that many boys stop reading because they do not see practical applications for reading. They look for immediate uses for what they learn. When they read texts where universal themes or highly fictionalized stories are presented they fail to see the purpose in reading. There is nothing “useful” in these texts. Therefore it has been suggested that those working with reluctant male readers offer them practical texts to engage their interest. These include manuals, non-fiction picture books, Internet sites and technology-based interactive texts. Such materials make reading useful to boys again. Then they are much more apt to continue reading in the future.    Click here for more information.