Helping your child to succeed in Literacy: Reading
If you want to help your child succeed in developing their reading ability there are simple things you can do as a parent to help them, even if you’re not sure yourself, how confident a reader you are.
We don’t expect you to have the skills necessary to teach children to read, but rather we would like to students to adapt an approach of active reading. They should be engaging with the text in an interactive way rather than being quite passive and not taking on board the information they’re reading about.
If there is time, you could read with your child – spend time reading together. This could be the same book or different books. Reading the same book as your child would allow the two of you to engage in conversations about the story and this would generate a deeper involvement in the process of reading for your child. Role modelling the behaviour of reading is so important in helping children to understand the importance of reading.
We should look for students to foster personal questions with the books that they are reading. We can do this by talking to them about their current book; asking some open questions to generate thoughts and discussions:
- How are your feelings and the feelings of a character in your book alike and are they different?
- What feelings did you have as you read the story?
- What words does the author use that you might want to use in your own writing?
- What experiences similar to the character of the story have you had?
- What passage did you find meaningful or enjoyable?
- Why did you like it?
- Can you read it aloud to me?
- How did the story change your thinking? Or can you show how it confirmed your thinking?
We could also ask questions about the setting and characters of a book:
- Where does the story take place?
- Which settings are important and why?
- When does the story take place?
- Was it long ago, in the future, or the present?
- What did you learn about this time period?
- How much time passes in the story?
- How does the author make time pass?
- Who is the main character?
- Why is this character important to the story?
- Are there words a character spoke and/or actions a character took that helped you learn what kind of person he or she was?
- Find and discuss two important sections.
- Did any of the characters change?
- Pick one and discuss how an event, person, and decision changed that character.
- What do you think the main character learned about himself, his family, or his friends?
- Describe a conflict between two characters.
- How was it resolved?
- What did you learn about these characters?
- Name one or two minor characters.
- How have each affected the main characters?
- Were there problems characters couldn’t solve?
- Identify one or two and explain why you think they weren’t resolved.
We could also ask questions about the way the book has been written:
- What is the genre of your book?
- Did the author create different moods?
- Find passages in the text that reveal two different moods, and share.
- Point out the words, phrases, and actions that helped create the mood.
- What points is the author is making about family, friends, feelings, nature, life experiences, or an historical period.
- Use details from the story that back up a point you’re making.
This is by no means a definitive list and you shouldn’t feel the need to ask all of these questions (neither should they be asked in succession; bombarding the child with thought provoking questions). They’re just there to offer you starting points.