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Reading Tips

Reading Tips for Parents of Reluctant Readers
By Simone Mary

Education begins at home where parents are the first teachers. Parents therefore should never have a hands off approach about any part of their child's education. In fact children who are struggling in school need the support of their parents more than ever. The trouble is most parents are never quite sure exactly what they can do to help. This article focuses on struggling readers and what parents can do at home to help their children.

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There are certain strategies that teacher's use in the classroom that can be adapted for use at home. Teachers know that Phonological awareness, Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension are key skills that every child should master. However a lot a parents don't know exactly how to go about helping their child develop these core reading skills.

To help your child to acquire phonological awareness skills which is simply the ability to break down the language into smaller units, use nursery rhymes. Say them along with your child and play rhyming word games with them. You can say one word such as "cake" and have your child tell you a word that rhymes. Clap to syllables in word you call with your child for example: din/ner(two claps) break/fast(two claps) bed(one clap).

Help your child develop phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to manipulate phonemes (sounds). Teach your child songs and then substitute different phonemes(sounds) for the beginning sound in words.

For example: Sweetly sings the donkey

At the break of day,

If you do not feed him

This is what he'll say,

Hee haw, hee haw, hee haw, hee haw, hee haw!

Can be changed to: tweetly tings the tonkey

At the break of day,

If you do not feed him

This is what he'll say,

tee taw, tee taw, tee taw, tee taw, tee taw!

In this example "t" was used as a substitute.

To develop phonics skills listen to your child reading. Play the hang man game. Let your child touch and say words as they write them.

To help your child become a fluent reader do echo reading activities. During echo reading you will read a sentence or short phrase and then your child will repeat what you have said. In this way you become a model. To develop fluency you can also read along with the child. Turn your home into a little theatre by acting out different scenes in a book using the dialogue. The whole family can get involved in this.

Get a copy of the Dolch word list. You can get a copy from several sites on the internet. The Dolch word list consists of 220 words. These words account for about 75% of all the words used in children's book. These words can be made into flash cards. You can make them out of construction paper or on the computer. Hold up the words on the cards and have your child practice calling a few of them everyday.

To develop reading comprehension ask your child to predict what will happen in a story before you read it to them. These predictions can be based on the cover art and title. At the end of reading ask questions that begin with the five W's: who, what, when, where and why.

Simone Mary is a teacher, writer and artist. She is the author of the eBook TEACHING READING AND WRITING, for more reading strategies and for a free copy of the eBook GET ON THE HONOR ROLL-TEST AND EXAM TAKING TIPS THAT WORK visit