It is important to choose an appropriate time in the day to listen your child read and discuss their responses to the text. Avoid times in the day that might involve interruptions from other members of the family or times when you might be rushed to squeeze in some reading before a favourite television program starts or you need to dash out of the door to get to work. The best time for reading is when the you and child are feeling settled and relaxed so that you can both concentrate on the story and any related activities. It is also important not to spend lengthy sessions reading in which your child might begin to feel restless and starts to lose concentration. Look for signals in your child that they are beginning to lose concentration so that you can move onto other activities such as discussing the content and sequence of events in the book.
You need to carefully choose the texts and stories that your child is reading so that they can experience and develop skills when working with a range of different text styles and genres. One of the best ways of selecting a story to match the children's current reading abilities is by getting them to read the first page of a story to see how many mistakes and corrections are needed. If the children make less than five mistakes on one page then the book should be suitable for their reading ability. If the children make more than five mistakes then you should try switching books to better match your child's reading ability. As well as reading fiction story books, you should look for opportunities within the day to allow the children to practise reading different types of text such as the instructions contained in a recipe when baking in the kitchen or a story from a local newspaper about a recent event. Reading should become an essential part of your family's daily habits.
When hearing your child read there are a number of strategies that you can employ to support and develop their reading. Always allow the children to hold the book themselves so that they can develop independent skills. Avoid pointing at each word with your finger. The process of reading involves scanning chunks of text and not individual words. If you place your finger on the individual words then you can block the remainder of the text so that the children will not fully understanding what they are reading. You can get the children to place their own finger to the left or right of a line in the text so that they can keep track of their progress without blocking any of the words. During reading if the children have problems reading some of the words you can get them to practise reading on the end of the sentence or from the beginning again to try and interpret the word. You can also help the children segment words into individual phonemes so that it can be read and interpreted correctly.
When listening to your child read you should build in time to discuss what has been read. For example, once your child has completed reading a page or chapter in a book then you can ask them to predict what might happen next based on previous events. You can also get the children to suggest some of things that they would not expect to happen as it would not match the remainder of the content of the story. Spend time at the end of the story asking your child to discuss their reaction to the book. Get the children to identify their favourite characters and scenes in the story. Tell them to back up their views by referencing parts of the story. You can also get the children to write some book reviews that could be displayed in the family library for siblings to access when trying to select a book to read.
There are a number of activities that you can use to develop the children's reading skills by getting them to respond to a particular text when writing. The children can create storyboards showing the sequence of events in a story which they can also use to suggest alternative events and endings. Encourage the children to try converting a story into another type of text such as writing a set of instructions for a character to follow to complete a particular activity or write a news report about one of the main events in the story. The children could also try writing their own stories to match the themes and content of a story that they have read such as using the same characters in a different setting with similar events. Allow the children to share their follow-up writing activities with other members of the family so that they have a real purpose for their writing.