Ten Tips: Helping Your Child Read Effectively



1. Too Easy. Ask your child to select a book and read. If two or three pages can be read without mistakes, ask the child to find a more difficult book to read.

2. Too Hard. If the child makes three mistakes per page, it may be too difficult and frustrating. Find an easier book for your child to read. HOWEVER, if the story and ideas seem very interesting to him/her, don't worry about the number of words not understood or recognized.

3. Just Right. Ask your child to read silently for several pages, then ask, "Please explain what you have just read," with the book closed. If your child can give you a brief idea of what the story is about, then he/she is reading and understanding the materials. If the child cannot understand or recall the story, then you know he/she has poor reading comprehension.


4. Reading For Understanding. Children may be able to read the words, but often do not understand what the words mean. Helping them understand the world about them by talking to them about the things they see and use will improve their understanding of words. This may mean using difficult vocabulary and explaining what the words mean.

5. Improve Reading Understanding. Watching television and talking over the plot or talking about advertising, billboards and signs as you are driving down the street are ways of improving your child's reading comprehension. He/she will have a better understanding of what is heard, seen, and sensed.


6. Make Reading Useful. Give your child tasks to do that are within his/her reading ability. Examples: reading the road map on trips, ordering from a menu, reading the directions for assembling a model, or reading advertising.

7. Reading To Children. Reading is not meaningful until the child wants to read. The child will want to read when he/she sees other family members acquiring useful information through reading. Reading to a child stimulates seeking more resources for reading.

8. Reading For A Purpose. There needs to be a reason for reading that is child-centered. Reading directions for model cars, airplanes, boats, doll houses, etc., recipes, "how-to" books, or repair manuals needs to go beyond just reading. The child must interpret what is read and then experience the results.

9. Develop Speaking Skills. Speaking in complete sentences to express ideas in a logical order is important too. Helping your child organize spoken ideas also helps him/her learn to read and write. Most children learn to tell others their ideas before they can read.


10. Don't Go To Extremes. Reading, like speaking, is a tool that should be comfortable to use. It is a method used to transmit information and to transport yourself mentally, using words as images, to other times and places. Make reading fun. Read jokes. Read comedy. Read fiction and non-fiction. Read a variety of materials.

If your child always seems to be here . . .


. . . and hardly ever here,

. . . then it's probably a good idea for you to start helping him/her develop good reading habits.

It's never too late to get started! Good reading habits will not only help your child in school now, but also later on with a job.

Try these ten tips to helping your child read and interpret what is read about the world around us. Remember, be positive and offer encouragement!

--written by Clifford Eberhardt, Oregon Department of Education