Reading Tips

         "The only way to improve reading skills is to read." Nancy Collins


          Studies show that in order to improve reading skills, children need  to practice their reading for 60 minutes each day. The 60 minutes can come in small 15-20 minute blocks or in one large time frame. Finding time for reading practice can be difficult, but it is one of the most important steps in improving a student's reading ability.


Phonics is an important part of reading, however reading to understand is the most important goal of reading. Good readers monitor and correct as they read. When a child is stuck on a word, they are often told to "sound it out." Sometimes this works, but often in our crazy English language, it doesn't. Students need a variety of strategies to help them read. The following list provides some strategies besides just "sound it out."


  • Give the child a five to ten second wait time to see what s/he attempts.

  • Ask, "Does that word make sense?"

  • Say, "Look at the picture(s)?"

  • Say, "Put in a word that makes sense there."

  • Ask, "What word would make sense there?"

  • Say, "Go back to the beginning and try again."

  • Say, "Go back and smooth it out."

  • Ask, "Do we say it that way?"

  • Ask, "What letter/sound does it start/end with?"

  • Say, "Skip over the word and read to the end of the sentence. Now what do you think the word might be?"

  • Tell the child the word.


Other Tips for Parents:
  • Choose or help your child choose books where he/she will feel successful.

  • Reading aloud to children improves their reading fluency. (Do it! Every day!)

  • Children have to read a lot at home and school to become capable readers.

  • Whenever possible, provide background information about the story or the topic of the reading assignment. Background knowledge or experience about a topic improves comprehension.

            Most importantly, focus on what your child can do. Reading should be fun!


Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Reading:

When should I stop reading to my child?

Never!!! Children of all ages reap the benefits of hearing a story read aloud. Read aloud to your children from birth (some studies suggest even before) through college. Many adults enjoy hearing others read aloud whether it is a passage from a novel, a poem or an excerpt from a newspaper or magazine article.

Is it OK for my child to read the same book/novel again?

Yes, just as adults sometimes enjoy hearing a good story again, so do children. Let your child have fun reading.

Should I force my child to finish a book before starting another?

Reading should be enjoyable. Don't force him/her to read a book that s/he doesn't enjoy. Your child's teacher or public librarian might be able to recommend some popular titles.

How can I get my child interested in reading?

This is a frequently asked question. Try a magazine subscription geared toward your child's age group. Try and find several books related to a topic in which your child shows interest. Don't force the books on the child, but make them available. Model reading and share your enthusiasm for a good book. Create an environment rich in literature.

 How can I get my child to read more and spend less time watching TV/computer.

Television is fierce competition for children's free time. Be active in your child's TV viewing. Control the quantity and quality of the programs your child watches. Establish a daily reading time for everyone in the house. Turn off the TV.



Parent Communication/ Frank Schaffer Publications