Make reading time with a young child meaningful by providing thought-provoking prompts and asking questions that lead your child through the story. When your child reads, it’s important to work on fluency and expression! Always offer encouragement before, during, and after reading.
For struggling readers who tend to get frustrated, take turns reading the pages with them. This gives them a break from working and allows them to hear your fluency and expression – which is also helpful in your child’s progress as a reader.
Here are seven steps to successful reading with your child:
1. Before reading, take a picture walk.
- Look at pictures on the cover, back cover, and a few from the inside.
- Ask the child what they think the book might be about.
- Ask the child what words they think they might see in the book.
2. Before reading, ask questions like:
- Is this book fiction (imaginary) or nonfiction (real)?
- What clues does the title give you about the book?
- What do you think that this story will be about?
3. During reading, ask more questions like:
- Describe what you’ve read about or what has happened so far?
- Does what you’ve read so far make sense?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Does anything that has happened remind you of anything that you have seen, done, or read?
- What do you picture in your mind as you read?
4. Remind children to be expressive readers.
Remind them to try and read the way that they talk.
Help your child with unfamiliar words by using these prompts:
5. After reading, encourage your child to retell and summarize what they read.
- For fiction: characters, settings, events, problems, solutions, themes
- For nonfiction: main idea, supporting details, what they learned
6. Finally, have a discussion with your child about what they read.
Ask questions like:
- What did this book make you think of?
- What was the the author’s purpose in writing this book?
- Do you think that this is a good title for this book?
- Do you have a different idea for a title for this book?
- What was the main point of this book?
- What did you like about this book?
- What did you dislike about this book?
- Would you like to read more books written by this author?
- Would you like to see more books illustrated by this artist?
7. Follow-up activities!
Here are some additional activities to consider, especially if your child was fond of the book or interested in the topic:
- Draw a new cover for the book
- Create a diorama of a scene from the book
- Write a report to convince others to read the book
- Create a quiz for the book
- Draw a scene from the book
- Write down ideas for a follow-up book
- Do an author study
- Create a board game with the book as the theme
- Write a letter to the author
- Do additional research on the topic
OVERALL – enjoy reading with your child!
If you are having silent reading time, you can still use many of these steps. Also, when kids read, it is helpful for them to see you read. After all, reading should be part of everyone’s daily life!
Angela French is the Senior Product Development and Content Manager at Really Good Stuff. She has worked for the company for nearly seven years and has created hundreds of resources for the classroom. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Her classroom experiences include teaching grade levels K–5 and inclusion, special education, literacy intervention, and gifted and talented programs in three different states.