Before your child can develop good reading skills, they first need to develop good speaking and communication skills. Speaking and conversation come before reading, so speak with your child, about everything and anything. Ensure they have lots of real-world exposure that builds their language knowledge (vocabulary) for example, visit a gallery and talk about the artworks, visit parks and chat about the plants and trees or visit the supermarket and talk about what you can see.
The second-best tip I can give to any family is to ensure your child has exposure to a wide variety of different types of texts and books. Find out what they love, enjoy to read and helps them foster a love for literature and reading. Loving reading is important and is really helpful if you want them to develop reading skills (as with everything, it’s easier to spend time improving something if we enjoy it).
Some other tips to try with your child:
– To start with look for books with basic sentences and simple pictures.
– Read books with lots of rhyme and patterns that your child can follow and mimic.
– Help your child look for clues in the illustrations that could help them to decode the words and what it means.
– Look for environmental text – not just reading the books. Reading is essential for so many tasks (how would you drive if you couldn’t read the road signs, for example?).
– Involve your child while choosing books to read.
– Model good reading practices (set time aside where you sit and read as well, so they know that you value books too)
– Encourage a bedtime routine that involves sharing a story together each night.
– Visit a local library and enjoy borrowing different books each week.
Some of my top picks of stories to read with children (or for beginning readers to read themselves) include: