Reading and comprehension play a vital role in a child’s development. They promote language development, critical thinking, creativity, empathy, and academic success. Encouraging children to read and supporting their comprehension skills is an investment in their future, equipping them with essential tools for success in education and beyond.

I’m a parent and my child isn’t reading

So, what can I do?

  1. Create a Reading-Friendly Environment: Set up a comfortable and inviting reading space at home, with a variety of books easily accessible. Make sure there is adequate lighting and a quiet atmosphere where your child can focus and enjoy reading.
  2. Be a Reading Role Model: Let your child see you reading regularly. Children often imitate their parents’ behaviour, so if they see you enjoying books, they are more likely to develop an interest in reading themselves.
  3. Read Aloud Together: Schedule regular read-aloud sessions where you can read books together. Choose engaging and age-appropriate books, and take turns reading aloud. This activity not only builds a bond between you and your child but also helps them engage with the text, improving their pronunciation and fluency. This activity enhances their listening skills and comprehension.
  4. Offer a Variety of Books: Provide a wide range of books to cater to your child’s interests and reading level. Include fiction, non-fiction, picture books, graphic novels, magazines, and more. Encourage them to explore different genres, authors, and subjects to find what captivates them.
  5. Visit Libraries and Bookstores: Take your child to libraries and bookstores regularly. Let them browse through the shelves, choose their own books, and discover new titles. Participate in library programs and events that promote reading and literacy.
  6. Set Aside Dedicated Reading Time: Establish a specific time each day for reading. It can be before bedtime, after school, or during a quiet afternoon. Make it a routine and ensure there are no distractions during this time, allowing your child to fully immerse themselves in the reading experience.
  7. Incorporate Reading into Daily Activities: Encourage your child to read in various situations. For example, they can read recipes while cooking, signs while on a walk, or instructions for a game. Show them how reading is relevant and useful in everyday life.
  8. Discuss Books and Share Recommendations: Engage in conversations about the books your child is reading. Ask open-ended questions, encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions, and recommend books that you think they might enjoy based on their interests.
  9. Try and Make Reading a Fun and Interactive Experience: Find creative ways to make reading enjoyable. Create a reading challenge with rewards, organise book clubs with friends or siblings, or encourage your child to create their own stories or illustrations inspired by the books they read.
  10. Emphasise the Benefits of Reading: Help your child understand the value and benefits of reading. Discuss how reading expands knowledge, fuels imagination, and provides entertainment. Highlight how reading can open doors to new worlds and experiences.

Remember, every child is unique, and their reading preferences may vary. Be patient, supportive, and flexible in your approach, allowing your child to develop their own reading habits and preferences over time.

Now my child is reading more, what next?

Questions to ask your young children after reading

Below are some simplified versions of the questions that a 6-year-old child could understand, feel free to tailor these based on the age of your children and circumstances:

  • Who were the main characters in the story? (Who were the important people or animals in the story?)
  • Where did the story take place? (Where did the story happen?)
  • What was the problem or conflict in the story? (What was the trouble or issue in the story?)
  • How was the problem or conflict resolved? (How did they fix the problem or make things better?)
  • What was your favourite part of the story? Why? (What part did you like the most? Why did you like it?)
  • Can you tell me what happened in the story using your own words? (Can you explain what happened in the story using your own words?)
  • What do you think the author wanted us to learn from the story? (What do you think the author wanted us to understand or know from the story?)
  • Did the story remind you of anything in your own life or other books you’ve read? (Did the story make you think of something similar that happened to you or another book you’ve read?)
  • How did the characters feel at different parts of the story? Can you give examples? (How did the characters feel at different times in the story? Can you give me some examples?)
  • Can you imagine a different ending for the story? How would it change the outcome? (Can you think of a different way the story could have ended? How would it be different?)

Additional tips on improving your child’s comprehension skills

Now you’ve got your child reading more regularly, can I take this one step further? Boosting your children’s comprehension levels in English can be achieved through a combination of effective strategies alongside reading alone. Here are some simple yet effective methods that can help develop your child’s comprehension skills:

  1. Vocabulary Building: Expand their vocabulary by introducing new words regularly. Encourage them to use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words and discuss their meanings. Engage in word games or vocabulary-building activities to make it fun.
  2. Comprehension Strategies: Teach children specific strategies to enhance their comprehension, such as predicting, summarising, visualising, and asking questions while reading. These strategies improve their understanding of the text and help them make connections.
  3. Active Discussion: Encourage children to discuss what they have read or listened to, allowing them to express their thoughts and opinions. Engage in meaningful conversations about the text, characters, and themes. This fosters critical thinking and deeper understanding.
  4. Graphic Organisers: Introduce visual aids like graphic organisers to help children organise their thoughts and understand the structure of a text. Tools like story maps, Venn diagrams, and concept maps can assist in visualising relationships and organising information.
  5. Different Text Types: Expose children to a variety of texts, including narrative, informational, and persuasive. This broadens their exposure to different writing styles and helps them develop comprehension skills across various genres.
  6. Real-Life Applications: Relate reading and comprehension to real-life situations. Encourage children to read newspapers, magazines, or online articles on topics that interest them. This helps them see the practical value of comprehension skills.
  7. Finally, be sure to Monitor Progress: Regularly assess and monitor children’s comprehension levels through informal discussions, quizzes, or formal assessments. This allows you to identify areas of improvement and tailor instruction accordingly.

Remember, it’s important to create a positive and supportive learning environment where children feel encouraged to explore and develop their comprehension skills.

If you require extra support with your children’s English, reading or comprehension skills, feel free to contact Leeds Tuition Centre today.