by Deb Tasi-Cordtz

How can I help?

Parents and caregivers are often asking how they can help their children at home. In this article, we have highlighted some aspects to support reading at home with your child. Reading plays an important role in all aspects of our life. There are several ideas below that you can support your child with learning, but the key to anything is to ensure it is FUN! Reading doesn’t just have to be out of a novel, language is everywhere.

Make reading FUN!

  • Play card and board games and do complicated puzzles.

  • Help your child to follow a recipe and cook for the family.

  • Encourage your child to read and follow instructions for playing a game, making or using a piece of equipment, or completing a competition entry form.

  • Remember their reading doesn’t have to be a book – it could be a magazine, comic, newspaper or something from the Internet.

Talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Talk about it

  • Ask your child to talk about parts of a story they liked and why.

  • Talk about the key facts, characters, plot, setting, theme and author’s purpose.

  • Have them retell the main ideas or describe characters, events or facts they were interested in.

  • Ask them to show you where the story supports their thinking.

  • Be a role model. Show you read for a variety of reasons; eg to compare products advertised in brochures, to be informed on current issues, to find a phone number or a bus timetable, to relax etc.

  • Try reading the same book as your child so you can talk about it together.

  • Talk about the TV show you are watching. What were the main ideas? Talk about the order events happen in – practising this skill is important as children can find this difficult to learn. What did they like/dislike and why?

Encourage your child to read every day. Make reading fun and praise your child’s efforts, all the time.

Help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Read to your child

  • Just because your child can read doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy listening to someone else reading. It could be a non-fiction book on a topic they like, a magazine, a newspaper, a short story or a longer book read in instalments. It could also be a more difficult book/article that your child needs your help to read and understand.

  • You could also listen to audio stories together – you can borrow these from the library or download them from the internet.

  • Encourage your child to read the lyrics to their favourite songs, waiata or haka. Talk about why the composer wrote the song. What were they trying to say? Search the internet for more information.

Keep the magic of just listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice.

Keep them interested

  • Find books or magazines about your child’s interests. Reading about their favourite sport, player, team or kapa haka group or an issue they are interested in will help them to be an expert on a particular subject.

  • Find books that relate to TV shows or movies they know, or the area they come from. Knowing some of the ideas, characters or ancestors/tīpuna before you start reading can make it easier to understand a book. Talk about how the book differs from the TV show or movie and how it builds on what they already know.

  • Join the library and visit regularly to help your child choose books that interest them – you may want to encourage your child to read different types of books including non-fiction stories.

Be positive whenever your child is reading, no matter what they are reading. Respect your child’s opinion as it shows they are thinking about what they read.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your child's reading please do not hesitate to make contact with me and discuss this further.

Deb Tasi-Cordtz

Learning Support Coordinator