Parent Strategies to Help Your Child Read at Home

Tips for K-2 Parents

Tips for 3-5 Parents

Don't leave home without it

Bring along a book or magazine any time your child has to wait, such as at a doctor's office. Always try to fit in reading!

Once is not enough

Encourage your child to re-read favorite books and poems. Re-reading helps kids read more quickly and accurately.

Dig deeper into the story

Ask your child questions about the story you've just read. Say something like, "Why do you think Clifford did that?"

Take control of the television

It's difficult for reading to compete with TV and video games. Encourage reading as a free-time activity.

Be patient

When your child is trying to sound out an unfamiliar word, give him or her time to do so. Remind to child to look closely at the first letter or letters of the word.

Pick books that are at the right level

Help your child pick books that are not too difficult. The aim is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences.

Play word games

Have your child sound out the word as you change it from mat to fat to sat; from sat to sag to sap; and from sap to sip.

I read to you, you read to me

Take turns reading aloud at bedtime. Kids enjoy this special time with their parents.

Gently correct your young reader

When your child makes a mistake, gently point out the letters he or she overlooked or read incorrectly. Many beginning readers will guess wildly at a word based on its first letter.

Talk, talk, talk!

Talk with your child every day about school and things going on around the house. Sprinkle some interesting words into the conversation, and build on words you've talked about in the past.

Write, write, write!

Ask your child to help you write out the grocery list, a thank you note to Grandma, or to keep a journal of special things that happen at home. When writing, encourage your child to use the letter and sound patterns he is learning at school.

Make books special

Turn reading into something special. Take your kids to the library, help them get their own library card, read with them, and buy them books as gifts. Have a favorite place for books in your home or, even better, put books everywhere.

Get them to read another one

Find ways to encourage your child to pick up another book. Introduce him or her to a series like The Boxcar Children or Harry Potter or to a second book by a favorite author, or ask the librarian for additional suggestions.

Crack open the dictionary

Let your child see you use a dictionary. Say, "Hmm, I'm not sure what that word means... I think I'll look it up."

Talk about what you see and do

Talk about everyday activities to build your child's background knowledge, which is crucial to listening and reading comprehension. Keep up a running patter, for example, while cooking together, visiting somewhere new, or after watching a TV show.

First drafts are rough

Encourage your child when writing. Remind him or her that writing involves several steps. No one does it perfectly the first time.

Different strokes for different folks

Read different types of books to expose your child to different types of writing. Some kids, especially boys, prefer nonfiction books.

Teach your child some "mind tricks"

Show your child how to summarize a story in a few sentences or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both strategies help a child comprehend and remember.

"Are we there yet?"

Use the time spent in the car or bus for wordplay. Talk about how jam means something you put on toast as well as cars stuck in traffic. How many other homonyms can your child think of? When kids are highly familiar with the meaning of a word, they have less difficulty reading it.

“A child’s success as a reader begins much earlier than the first day of school.  Reading, and a love for reading, begins at home.”

~Reading Rockets (2008)~


“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read”

~Marilyn Jager Adams~