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Supporting Your Child with Reading at Home: A Parent's Guide

Supporting Your Child with Reading at Home: A Parent's Guide

Reading is not just a fundamental skill; it's a gateway to a world of knowledge, imagination, and lifelong learning. As parents, you play a pivotal role in nurturing your child's love for reading. This guide aims to provide you with practical tips and resources to support your child's reading journey at home.

‘Being read to as a child is the number one predictor of academic success.
They will do better in school and in life.’ 

(Butler et al., 1985; Lonigan, Burgess, & Anthony, 2000; Senechal & LeFevre, 2002; Stainthorp & Hughes, 2004; Wagner et al., 1997)


Why Read to Your Child?

Reading to your child is more than just storytelling; it's an investment in their future. Research has consistently shown that children who are read to at home perform better academically and develop a lifelong passion for reading. By sharing stories with your child, you instil in them a love for literature and demonstrate the value of reading as a vital life skill


Tips for Reading Together (Primary age):

  • Create a Cozy Reading Environment: Settle in a comfortable spot with your child, close enough to enjoy the story together.
  • Engage Your Child: Encourage your child to participate by holding the book, turning pages, and pointing to pictures.
  • Encourage Conversation: Ask open-ended questions about the story to spark discussion and critical thinking.
  • Choose Books Together: Let your child pick out books based on their interests and preferences.
  • Make it Fun: Incorporate creative activities like drawing favourite characters or acting out scenes from the book to make reading enjoyable.
  • Don't Limit Reading Material: Embrace various forms of literature, including short stories, poetry, comics, and non-fiction, to cater to your child's diverse interests.
  • Explore Audio Books: Utilise audio books as an alternative to traditional reading to enhance vocabulary and listening skills.


Supporting Reluctant Readers:

  • Encourage Exploration: Foster a non-judgmental attitude towards reading and allow your child to explore different genres and topics.
  • Tailor Reading Choices: Find books that align with your child's hobbies and interests, such as gaming or sports, to make reading more engaging.
  • Involve Family Members: Encourage reading sessions with grandparents or older siblings to create a supportive reading environment.
  • Visit Libraries: Make regular trips to the library to discover new books and receive recommendations from librarians.


Tips for Before, During, and After Reading:

  • Predict and Preview: Encourage your child to make predictions about the story based on the front cover, title, and blurb (synopsis on the back cover of the book).
  • Active Reading: During reading, help your child track words and assist with decoding unfamiliar vocabulary (for more information on this see FAQ section below).
  • Engage with the Text: Ask questions to deepen comprehension and encourage critical thinking about characters, plot, and themes (for more information on this see FAQ section below).


Create Reading Rituals:

Incorporate reading into your child's daily routine to make it a natural and enjoyable habit.


Final Thoughts:

  1. Join the Loulé Library: Librarians give great book advice and recommendations. And libraries have more books than you could ever own!
  2. It's important to have books in the home If you really enjoy a library book, try to get hold of a copy to keep. You can also ask family and friends to mark every birthday or special occasion with the gift of a book for your child.
  3. Library during breaktimes and lunchtime Encourage children to visit the library during their breaktimes.
  4. Get other family members involved Reading with grandparents or older siblings can be a lovely way to bond, connect and snuggle.



By fostering a supportive reading environment at home, you can empower your child to become a confident and enthusiastic reader. Remember, the most important aspect is to cultivate a love for reading that will last a lifetime.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Question 1. What is decoding? How can I help my child to decode?

Decoding is the process of translating written words into spoken language. It involves recognizing the individual sounds (phonemes) that make up words and blending them together to pronounce the word accurately. Essentially, it's the ability to sound out words by applying knowledge of letter-sound relationships.

Here are some ways you can help your child with decoding skills:

  • Phonics Instruction: At school your child will be learning the relationship between letters and sounds. In Reception children start with basic letter-sound correspondences and gradually introduce more complex phonics rules.
  • Sound Segmentation: Practice breaking words down into individual sounds. For example, ask your child to say each sound in the word "cat" (/k/-/a/-/t/) before blending them together to read the word.
  • Blending Sounds: Encourage your child to blend individual sounds together to form words. Provide support by modelling the process and using gestures to represent each sound.
  • Word Families: Introduce word families (e.g., cat, hat, mat) to help your child recognize common patterns and phonetic elements in words.
  • Sight Words: Teach high-frequency sight words (words that appear frequently in text but don't always follow phonetic rules) through repetition and visual recognition.
  • Context Clues: Encourage your child to use context clues, such as surrounding words or pictures, to figure out unfamiliar words while reading.
  • Word Games: Make decoding practice fun by playing word games like "I Spy," word bingo, or creating word scavenger hunts around the house.
  • Reading Together: Read aloud to your child regularly and model fluent reading. Pause to sound out unfamiliar words together and discuss strategies for figuring them out.
  • Provide Feedback: Offer positive reinforcement and corrective feedback when your child attempts to decode words. Praise their efforts and provide gentle guidance when needed.
  • Use Multisensory Approaches: Incorporate multisensory techniques, such as using magnetic letters, sandpaper letters, or tactile materials, to reinforce letter-sound relationships.

By supporting your child's decoding skills through these strategies, you can help them become more confident and proficient readers. Remember to be patient and encouraging and celebrate their progress along the way.

Question 2. How can I check comprehension and deepen comprehension of the book?

To deepen comprehension and encourage critical thinking about characters, plot, and themes, here are some questions you can ask your child:


  • Can you describe the main character? What are their personality traits?
  • How do the characters interact with each other? Do their actions change throughout the story?
  • Why do you think the character made a particular decision?
  • Can you identify the character's motivations or goals?
  • How do you think the character feels at different points in the story? What evidence from the text supports your answer?


  • What is the main problem or conflict in the story?
  • How does the problem/conflict change or develop as the story progresses?
  • Can you identify the key events that lead to the climax of the story?
  • How does the resolution of the conflict impact the characters and the outcome of the story?
  • Are there any surprises or unexpected twists in the plot? How do they affect the story's progression?


  • What do you think is the main message or lesson the author is trying to convey?
  • Can you identify any recurring ideas or motifs throughout the story?
  • How do the characters' actions reflect the theme of the story?
  • What connections can you draw between the story and real-life experiences or events?
  • How might the story be different if a different theme was emphasized?


  • What was your favourite part of the story? Why?
  • Is there anything about the story that you found confusing or unclear?
  • Can you make any predictions about what might happen next in the story?
  • How does the setting contribute to the overall mood or tone of the story?
  • if you were the author, would you change anything about the story? Why or why not?
  • Encourage your child to provide evidence from the text to support their answers and engage in meaningful discussions about the story's elements. These questions can help foster critical thinking skills and deepen your child's understanding of the text.


Explore the suggested websites and resources to discover more tools and activities to enrich your child's reading experience. Together, let's embark on a journey of literary discovery and imagination!


written by Michelle Grainger 

Deputy Head of Primary - Curriculum - Teacher of 6AG

Mrs. Grainger is an experienced and dedicated educator with a proven track record in various leadership roles. With a teaching career that began in 2011, she has worked at prestigious schools in Penang and Doha, where she held key positions such as Head of Boarding, Head of Year, Head of Phase, and Literacy Coordinator. Since joining Nobel Almancil in 2020, Mrs. Grainger has shaped the school's literacy program as the Literacy Coordinator. She has a passion for Reading and tries to instill that love of Reading into her students. 
This year, she has taken on the role of Deputy Head of Primary. Teaching and Learning, where she provides support to teachers in various areas of the Primary Curriculum, working closely with the WLT team.