The importance of reading with your child and/or having your child read everyday cannot be overstated. I can almost guarantee that a post regarding the specific reasons why reading everyday is essential will be coming to our blog soon. However in this post strategies to encouraging active reading with your child will be discussed. Active reading is reading and thinking about what you are reading. Often times a child will read a story but when asked about what happened in the story they are unable to provide a response. While there are so many different ways to engage your child in what they are reading, below are a
few strategies used frequently in the classroom to try when reading with your child at home.
Picture Walk: Flip through the book focusing on the pictures. Ask your child to tell you what they think the story is going to be about based on the illustrations.
Focus on the Front: Take a close look at the front cover and the title. Ask your child: "Who or what do you think is on the front cover?", "Why have the illustrator and author chosen this to go on the cover?", "What do you think the title means?" and "What might the story be about based on just the front cover?".
Pause for Predictions: Throughout the story, pause and ask your child what they think might happen next. Ask them to explain their predictions based on the story so far.
Phonics Focus: To encourage your child to be paying attention to the written words on the page while you read out loud, ask them to locate specific words such as “the”, “is”, “I”. This is a great way to encourage children who are not yet reading independently.
Character Focus: If you and your child are reading a chapter book or longer picture book, ask your child to describe a character at the beginning of the story and then at the end of the story. Ask your child how that character changed throughout the story.
Retell: For picture books, ask your child to retell the story in their own words. You can also have them draw pictures to represent the events in the story or use puppets to act it out. For longer books, ask your child to identify the problem the characters face in the story and what the solution is at the end.
Change the End: Have your child change the ending of the story. Let them come up with a different ending to the story! The endings can be creative but should make sense based on the story (i.e. a dinosaur cannot suddenly appear and eat everyone in a story about a family of cats).