5 Tips to Encourage Independent Reading

5 Tips to Encourage Independent ReadingIndependent reading is the end product of all the skills your child has learned from your regular reading sessions together. It may be daunting at first, but it is the best practice they can get to become fluent, confident readers.

Try the following to help motivate your child to read on their own:

  • Let them choose – your child will be so much more motivated to read on their own if they choose books that they’re interested in.
  • Set reading goals – give your child something to work towards, for example, they can aim to finish a book before the end of the week, or learn five new words from a book they are reading.
  • Regular reading time – designate a special time after school when your child can read without being disturbed. Setting a regular time will help them get into the habit of reading regularly, and it will soon become a part of their normal daily routine.
  • Be on hand to help – make sure you’re around if your child has any questions about words they can’t read or don’t know the meaning of. If they are having trouble with a word or sentence, try and give them hints to see if they can work it out themselves, instead of simply giving them the answer.
  • Let them tell you all about it – like most people, when you finish a book you want to tell people about it and share your thoughts. Discuss your child’s book with them and ask them questions that will help their comprehension, like ‘Who were the main characters?’ ‘What did you think when…’. ‘What was your favourite part?’

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

5 Fun Ways to Remember Spelling

5 Fun Ways to Remember SpellingRemembering how to spell certain words is so much easier when you’re having fun. Try some of these fun activities to improve your child’s spelling:

  • Rainbow Letters – give your child three or four crayons and ask them to write a word over and over again in each colour, layering the colours one on the other to create a rainbow.
  • Telephone – to play this game you will need to make a string/fishing line telephone with cans, or you can just use one of those cardboard tubes that come with wrapping paper. It’s pretty simple, just whisper words and their spelling to each other through your telephone!
  • Sand Box – writing words in sand can help your child remember their spelling. If you don’t have a sand pit in the back yard you can always place sand in some kind of shallow storage device, or better yet, go to the beach!
  • Shaving Cream – this could get messy, but it’s also a lot of fun. Spray a layer of shaving cream on a flat surface and allow your child to write their words in the shaving cream.
  • Fridge Magnets – say the words and have your child spell them on the fridge – a nice activity to take your mind off the dishwashing!

Remember, if your child has difficulty spelling a word, make sure you always praise them if they spell part of the word correctly, and try and suggest what else is needed instead of just giving them the answer. For example, if they have written part of the word, you might say; ‘You have three of the five letters right. One of the letters should be doubled. Can you tell me which one it should be?’

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Ways to Teach Blending

3 Ways to Teach BlendingSo, what is blending exactly? Blending is a crucial step on the way to fluent reading. To put it simply, it’s the ability to smoothly combine individual sounds together in words. For example, an early reader may read out each individual sound in the word ‘fast’ like /f/…/a/…/s/…/t/,  while a smooth blending would be sounding the word out as /faasst/.

Some tips to help your child learn how to blend words include:

1. Oral blending activities – call and response activities where you can demonstrate how a word sounds when you read each of its individual sounds out, and then what it sounds like when you read it at regular speed or ‘normally’, will allow your child to better understand how the individual sounds in words are ‘hooked’ together to make a word.

To demonstrate this, tell your child that you are going to play some fun sound games. Explain to them that you will say a word slowly and that they need to repeat the word slowly in the same way, and then say the word at regular speed, or ‘normally.’ For example, for the word ‘cat.’

You: Say ‘/c/…/a/…/t/’.

Child: Repeats the word slowly in the same way as you.

You: ‘Now say it normally’.

Child: Says the word at regular speed.

Try this exercise with simple, one or two syllable words, then as they get the hang of it, try some longer words.

2. The Power of Song – when you sing a word it is a lot harder to sound out the individual sounds in a choppy way as might happen when just reading it aloud. This is why nursery rhymes are so useful, but you can always get creative and make your own songs with words that your child is having difficulty sounding out.

3. Play ‘I Spy’…with a phonics twist – this is a really simple game, much like the original, but instead of simply asking just ‘I Spy something that starts with…’, you also give your child a clue in the form of sounding out the name of the object you’re looking at. To guess correctly, your child needs to put the sounds together to say the name of the object at normal speed. For example, you can say ‘I spy something that sounds like ‘/t/…/a/…/b/…/le/’, then your child needs to put each sound together to say ‘table’ normally.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Ways to Teach Punctuation

  1. 3 Ways to Teach PunctuationUse actions and sounds – for beginner readers, a fun, hands on way to introduce them to punctuation is to substitute different punctuation marks with actions or sounds. For example, a full stop is a bang on the table, a comma is a clap, speech marks a click of the fingers, an exclamation mark a high five…or whatever works for you! This will teach them about the natural rhythm and pauses of spoken sentences.
  2. Emphasise punctuation – when reading to your child, try and match your reading pace and tone to reflect each punctuation mark. For example, pause for a comma. For a full stop, pause a little while longer or take a big breath before you start the next sentence. If there is an exclamation mark, make sure you shift to a quicker and more imperative/louder tone. For a question mark, raise your tone on the word just prior so it sounds like you are asking a question.
  3. Undress a sentence – Write down a sentence from a book your child is reading, but take out all the punctuation marks. Ask them to try and punctuate the sentence, then compare with the sentence in the book. You can then read over the punctuated sentence with them, making sure to pause and inflect different tones to account for each punctuation mark.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

10 Learning to Read Do’s and Don’ts

  • 10 Learning to Read Dos and DontsDo challenge your child by occasionally choosing a book that is above their current reading level. Nothing too hard though, but something that will introduce them to new words. Always remember the Five Finger Rule to gauge how difficult or easy a book will be.
  • Don’t continue reading a book if it turns out to be too hard. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t finish it! You can always tell your child that they can try reading it again when they’ve had more reading practice.
  • Do introduce your child to the five W’s to discuss what you’re reading – who, what, when, where and why. Encourage them to ask questions starting with each.
  • Don’t give them all the answers right away. If your child is having trouble reading a word, let them try to sound it out for themselves, but give them a hint if they’re really having trouble.
  • Do encourage your child’s involvement when you are reading to them. Ask them to turn the pages, or if they seem like they’re drifting off, ask them ‘What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • Don’t pick a book that your child has already seen on TV or at the movies. Spoiler alert – once they know the plot, they’re likely to lose interest.
  • Do take regular trips to the library. It’s probably the best place to expose your child to a variety of different book genres, plus it can be fun to get out of the house and read in a different environment.
  • Don’t use reading time as a threat or bargaining chip, e.g. ‘If you do your reading you can watch TV for a bit’ or ‘If you don’t clean your room there’ll be no story for you tonight!’ It may be tempting, but it’s always a bad idea to associate reading with any other incentive than learning and having fun.
  • Do let your child see you reading around the house. Be conspicuous about it – let them see that you enjoy reading and that it’s something you do for pleasure. Something as simple as reading the newspaper or a magazine will do!
  • Don’t let your busy lifestyle get in the way of your daily reading sessions with your child. Try and read together every day, or if you lead a super busy lifestyle, at least most days. I’m sure you know by now, but it bears repeating – regular reading practice is very important for developing readers.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!