4 Ways To Help Your Child Read

Here are 4 simple strategies to help your child read better.

 

Would you like to improve your child’s reading? I’m often asked “How can I help my child read?” where my other post explores creating an environment for successful reading, this post will explain 4 strategies you can implement to help your child read better. I have kept these as simple as possible, so please reach out in the comment section if you would like further guidance or clarification. 

Let’s get to the technical side of reading. Below are a few different strategies I use daily in the classroom. Try these with your child while reading together. Most children will be aware of some strategies from school. Sometimes when children get stuck on a word or phrase, they have many different strategies running through their head and are unsure which one to choose and commence. This is where the adult is able to help them and direct them to a strategy.

1. Sound It Out

I know this might seem a little obvious, but to support reading sometimes a child needs to hear your strategy so they see how a sound works. Afterall, there are a lot of rules and exceptions in the English language. Monkey see (hear), monkey do. Some words are easier to sound out than others. Sound out blends and digraphs together so your child understands how sounds can change when two letters are placed together.

For example a blend is two sounds that should be said in conjunction such as the word “blue” really needs the “b” and “l” spoken as “bl”, not as individual sounds. A digraph is when two letters together make a completely different sound and can’t be traditionally sounded out, like “s” and “h” together don’t make ” ssss and hhh” they make the sound “sh”. 

2. Chunking

This is a reading strategy you can use to support your child by helping them break down a word into smaller words or recognisable sounds. Look for patterns such as word families your child already knows so they can apply their prior knowledge (some common word families are -at -et – ab -ail -ame). Help your child figure out sounds within the word then re-say the beginning sound until they make the link between the sound and the word.

For example if stuck on “trail” cover the ”tr” and brainstorm where else your child might have seen this ending (mail, bail, nail, snail etc) then make the “tr” sound and let you child put the two sounds together.

3. Rhyming Association

Rhyming association is a great way to quickly overcome barriers with several unconventional spelling rules in the English language. When your child is stuck on a word that cannot be sounded out especially due to silent letters, tell them ‘it rhymes with……’. This is similar to chunking and using word families. As your child gains exposure to these strategies connections will start to form between sounds and word patterns for the next time they see a similar word.

For example your child is stuck on ‘night’, you could say ‘it rhymes with tight’ and acknowledge there’s a silent letter in the word. This helps your child gain confidence knowing it’s not a lack of their ability, but tricky word structure in the English language.

4. Read On

If your child becomes stuck on a word and is struggling to successfully implement the above strategies, encourage them to skip the word and read the rest of the sentence. This will allow your child to create meaning from the context of the sentence and access their knowledge of words that may correctly fit, and see if they have the right sounds in the word.

For example if your child is stuck on “chasing” within the sentence “the cat is chasing the mouse around the house”, encouraging them to skip the word, read the rest of the sentence, look at the picture for context. They might say “running after”, explore if the word “chasing” has the right beginning sounds for “running after”. I make a decision based on the child’s attention span or self confidence as to how many attempts, or time I spend exploring different words before modelling the sounding out process or simply sharing the word with them.

Take Away Message

I would encourage you to focus on one or two of these strategies at a time to let your child achieve success in their reading journey. Depending on where your child is currently working at, some strategies may work better than others. Children can find it overwhelming to recall the correct strategy to implement at the time of need. Your simple advice will assit your child more than you realise and increase their reading capacity.

 

As always, please reach out if you have specific questions or concerns.

Jess

web:  get-reading.com  ||   email:  hello@get-reading.com

 

14 Comments

  • Boby

    Great article, kudos to you for taking on such an important topic!
    Helping a kid with the reading is not an easy or small task to deal with.
    You’re presenting really helpful tips and ideas, I’m sure plenty of parents will appreciate that.
    Personally, I knew that rhyming is helpful where the topic is being concerned.
    But that’s the first time I’m hearing about the advantages of chunking.
    Thanks a lot for that!
    Hopefully, there will be more articles on the subject in the near future?

    • Jess

      Thanks Boby, I really appreciate your kudos! I’m glad you find these tips helpful, that is my mission after all. Super happy I was able to share the advantages of chunking with you! Jess

  • Rizza

    Hi,
    Thank you so much for the amazing tips and tricks you have mentioned in the article.

    I have my little nephew in our house since last week and he is currently struggling to read. His parents are having a hard time teaching him, not only is he a bit hyperactive and easily distracted, he does not have any motivation to learn.

    He thinks it is such a chore for him to do it, I hope I could utilize all the things you talked about above and make it a great learning experience for him as I can not help but worry for him.

    All the best,
    Rizza

    • Jess

      Hi Rizza,

      Thank you so much for dropping by! It’s hard to watch a child struggle with reading, hence my mission of this site! I really recommend my other post where I explain some simple changes to create a reading environment at home. I have seen many students similar to how you are describing your nephew, I really recommend asking him to find something (a book or comic etc) that he likes.. this will give him some ownership over the reading process and may see his interest in reading increase if it is something he actually enjoys (superhero, sport etc etc).

      Take care,
      Jess

  • Dave

    Hi thank you for the simple and easy to read post. My daughter is in primary school and struggles with certain words and flow in her reading. I discovered your post just in time. It has given me some ideas on how to help her improve. Thank you.

    • Jess

      Hi Dave,

      Thank you so much for your comment! English is tricky to learn isn’t it. I’m glad my post has given you a couple of new ideas to try with your daughter! Let me know how you go.

      Happy reading, Jess

  • Kelyee

    Jess great tips. I have never heard of “Chunking” use in that way before, very unique. I have a 9-month-old niece and she’s very vocal right now. Your tips would help me help her how to read in the future.

    I wonder if “chunking” the same as phonics? Thanks for the simple tips that everyone can relate to. All the best to ya!

    Kelyee

    • Jess

      Thanks Kelyee,

      I have added a little more to the ‘chunking’ section to further explain the concept as I don’t think I covered it well prior. Thats wonderful about your niece, I definitely think these tips will help her in her reading journey, especially my other post about creating a positive reading environment at home.

      Phonics is a very broad umbrella term. Phonological awareness is knowing the actual sounds our letters make and how the sounds change when two or more letters are placed together- these 4 strategies are to help improve overall phonics (phonological awareness). There are a few companies that have released different reading programs that are branded with names that include ‘phonics’, but in the greater scheme, all do the same or similar job with sound recognition.

      Happy reading, Jess

  • Daniel

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Jess. This was a very helpful article for any parent looking to help their kids with reading. Being a parent myslef, I strongly believe all your tips can be implemented concurrently. Reading with the kids as well as helping them to pronounce words is a fun activity every parent should enjoy doing. Once again, thank you for sharing!!

    • Jess

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks so much for reading!

      I’m so glad you believe these simple strategies can be implemented simultaneously. I also enjoy reading and sounding letters/words out with my students, especially when they have an ‘ah-ha!’ moment and you watch their reading improve right in front of your eyes! It’s just the best.

      Happy reading with your little ones!
      Jess

    • Jess

      Hey Fatsani,

      Thanks for your kind words! I wish you and your 5 year old all the best on your reading journey.
      Reach out if you would ever like advice or have a question with anything school related!! hello@get-reading.com

      Happy reading!
      Sincerely, Jess

  • Ali

    What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You!
    Actually this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for about how help my kid read when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details. I’m happy that you decided to share ideas about reading and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for other parents.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)

    Thanks!

    • Jess

      Thanks Ali
      I am so glad I could help you with any answers you may have been looking for to help your children.
      Sincerely, Jess

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