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  • Alison Davis

How Parents can Support their Child to Read

Updated: Dec 10, 2020


Parents are the child’s first and most important educator. It is on a parent’s lap that children first build a love affair with words and ideas contained in text. Reading and re-reading books is a fun way to engage with your child that leads to strong literacy growth and gives the child all the tools they need to be literate in first language and English.

Reading for meaning is the purpose – using all the information found in illustrations, words, sentences and layout. Focus on meaning by reading, talking and thinking about what the author said and what the author meant. Listen carefully to what your child is saying about the words and ideas and what they are noticing in the text.

Model your love of reading! Model read alouds every day by reading to your child. Model what reading sounds like with phrased, fluent reading that sounds like talking. (Some children think reading is only about decoding and getting the words right.) Make the words on the page dance by using expression and fluency. This takes practice. Reading and re-reading books – or any other text – is precious time with your child that builds confidence and success.

Have meaningful conversations about the text – in first language or English. Predict what might happen next in the story. Ask how and why questions about the text and help your child search for clues hidden within the text to answer questions and make sense of what they read.

Look deeply into the illustrations and diagrams and talk about the information hidden there. Infer what the author wants you to believe by using that image and use that information to comprehend the next part of the story.

Children love to choose the book/s they read and re-read. Have a basket of books they can access easily. A well-organized selection for reading each day would include:


  1. an old book –a favorite, well-loved book that is easy for the child to read along with you

  2. a new book – one that you will read to the child and explore together

  3. an independent book – the child chooses the book to read more independently by themselves

Read everything you can with your child anywhere and any time. Read books, songs, poems, information, recipes, rhymes, comics, advertisements – in fact anything! Keep books in the car and in your bag! Have a library corner and a library card so that books can be read, re-read and changed regularly.

Reading time is precious time. It takes time to explore all of the elements within the text so make sure to make reading time a special part of every day – with the TV and devices off. Build routines for reading into every day (especially at nap time) that are free from interruptions. Make this time a special routine valued by the whole family.

Model your love of reading with all kinds of texts. Have fun with books! Let your child see you enjoying text and gaining meaning from what you read and sharing your love of words and ideas in text. Talk about what you have read, what you are thinking about and what you are noticing in the text. Make the reading time a special part of every day! This leads to strong literacy practices for a lifetime.

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