Every student at Paynesville Primary School has a Home Reading Diary and each class encourages families to share their child’s reading journey by reading every night and recording this reading in their child’s reading diary.
Below are some tips for home reading from the Primary English Teaching Association Australia website:
- Establish a home reading routine. Read aloud with your children everyday. Ten minutes for each child around a book of his/her choice. If you lack confidence in reading aloud, the fact that you are reading with your child is what matters. Talk about the illustrations and contribute where you can. Share your excitement for reading and this will be the model your child will adopt.
- The reader holds the book! There is a lot of power and control in the world of reading. The reader needs to have the power.
- During home reading time, turn off electronic devices and give each child ten minutes of your undivided attention.
- Before you read a book, set your child up for success. Reading is not a test! Reading time is only ten minutes so do some of the following: Keep the introduction short – one minute is enough. Talk about the illustrations and the title. Read the blurb and talk about the author, talk about any unusual words, read a page here and there as your child flicks through the book, discuss the characters. This is a short introduction, not an interrogation. If the book is already a familiar one, then this step is unnecessary.
- If reading time is stressful, move the reading to a new location. Instead of sitting at the kitchen bench, move to the lounge room floor, or go outside and sit under a tree or take the books to the local coffee shop.
- Find a reading time that works for your family. Limit the time and set the timer if reading in the past has always been difficult. It is better to have an enjoyable 10 minutes than a laborious 30 minutes where everyone is left feeling frustrated.
- At the end of the 10 minutes, ask questions that encourage discussion, for example: What was your favourite part? Tell me about the characters. What do you think will happen next? What did you think about that setting? What do like or dislike about this book? There is no need to interrogate the reader. Make it a conversation as you would in a book club.
- Encourage your child to read independently. A bedside light is one of the best enticements for your child to read before going to sleep. After the 10 minutes of reading with you, the child can elect to continue reading independently.
- The less you interrupt the 10 minutes of reading, the more you are supporting the readers independence, resilience and confidence. Zip your lips, monitor the miscues, and listen as your child reads.
- Avoid judging your child’s reading with words such as: ‘good’, ‘excellent’ or ‘getting better’. Instead say things about the strategies your child uses when reading such as: ‘I like how you read on when you came to that difficult word.’ ‘I like how you changed your voice to be the voice of the character in the story’. ‘I noticed that you reread the bit that did not make sense.’
- If your child is reading independently and has reached the level of chapter books, it is not necessary for you to read aloud together any more. That is not to say, you cannot continue to share reading time because it is what you love to do as a family. Sit and read silently together or talk about the books your child is reading because you are interested in his reading choices. Readers read differently in their heads as compared to reading aloud.
- Visit the local library — make it a family ritual on a set day every week. Let your children select their books while you select books you are interested in reading.
- Not every book has to be read cover to cover. Your child might select books based on illustrations or factual information about a topic of interest.
- Independent readers pick and choose what they read. They are entitled to read some and reject others. They are entitled to not complete books because they are boring. Readers make choices.
- Model what it means to be an enthusiastic reader. Create a home of readers where everyone reads – It is just what we do in this house!
- Talk about what you have read. Read aloud what makes you laugh and share it with your child.