15 Simple Ways to Boost Your Child’s Reading Confidence

boost child's reading confidence

SPECIAL OFFER: Claim your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading confidence improves with self-paced online reading lessons, fun activities and games.

For children who struggle with reading, opening a book or reading in front of their peers in class can be an incredibly daunting experience.

Reading confidence matters. Developing reading proficiency is essential for achieving overall success in school, and children who shy away from reading are likely to encounter even greater obstacles in the future.

To nurture a child’s self-esteem it’s important for parents to be patient and encouraging. Here are some simple ways to boost your child’s reading confidence and put them on the right path towards a lifelong love of reading.

1. Appreciate the sweat and tears. Struggling with reading can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting for a child. Make it clear that you acknowledge their effort when they try.

2. Give them control. Visit a bookstore or library and let them choose their own books. Allow them to choose where to read and at what time in the day. Give your child some freedom and space to figure out what works best for them.

3. Bond. Laugh together. Pause and talk about the pictures. Forget about reading practice and focus more on enjoying the quality time together. Sooner or later, they’ll start associating reading with positive things.

4. Make a game out of it. There are so many fun reading games you can play with your child every single day to build up their confidence. Online reading programs like Reading Eggs give children the opportunity to progress at their own pace with the aid of bright animations, high-level interactivity and motivating rewards.

5. Talk excitedly about books. Show your child how fun it is to read by talking enthusiastically about books every day. Ask questions about books you’ve read together and discuss the parts you liked best.

6. Make it relevant. Demonstrate the usefulness of reading by making it as relevant as possible. Going to a natural history museum? Read a book about animals. Baking a delicious cake? Read the ingredients you need from a recipe.

7. Don’t push too hard. Challenging your child every now and then is great, but if your child wants to read the same book for the twentieth time, allow it. Let them feel proud about reading a book from cover to cover without needing your help. This is important for building their confidence.

8. Do paired reading every day. It should go without saying, but reading together every day is one of the most helpful ways you can build your child’s confidence. Take turns reading each page or give them one word in each line to read.

9. Give privacy. Allow your child some alone time to read without any fear of judgement. They won’t have to worry about taking too long to finish a line or getting stuck on a word.

10. Read to the family dog or cat. Companion animals make the perfect audience and eliminate the fear of being judged. If you don’t have an animal at home, your child can read to a younger sibling or even to their toys.

11. Show them that struggle is normal. Don’t fret over hiding your own weaknesses, in fact, letting your child see you get stuck on certain words will help them understand that struggle is normal, even for grownups.

12. Don’t overcorrect. Resist the temptation to correct small mistakes. Remember, the overall goal is to build confidence. There will be plenty of opportunities to work on accuracy and fluency later.

13. Praise. No matter what level your child is at, remind yourself how far they’ve come, even if they’ve made relatively small progress. Praise constantly. It will encourage them to keep improving.

14. Write your own books together. Home-made books are a fantastic way to build your child’s fluency. After all, reading a familiar story is great fun! Start with a few words, some drawings or photos on each page, and a simple title, like ‘Sarah’s First Trip to the Beach’.

15. Look beyond books. Building your child’s reading confidence doesn’t have to come from books. Comics, video games, trading cards, board games, shopping lists, cereal boxes – you name it – are all things your child can read to build up their self-esteem.

Reading Eggs is the award-winning online reading program that makes learning to read easy and fun for young children. The program includes fun games, exciting rewards, and self-paced lessons that children find highly engaging and encouraging.

Special free trial offer: Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here and see how your child’s reading confidence improves in just weeks.

What to Do When Your Child Guesses at Words

child guesses at words

Guessing at words is a common strategy for struggling readers. It doesn’t mean a child is being lazy or disinterested in reading. If a child is guessing, it’s likely they haven’t been taught the strategies needed to properly decode a word and determine its correct pronunciation.

Guessing is common among children who haven’t been taught early phonics skills. Phonics teaches children the principles of letter-sound relationships, which gives them the ability to correctly decode and pronounce written words and figure out words they haven’t seen before.

A child who hasn’t been taught decoding strategies will persistently guess at words based on the first letter or two, or based on its shape. For example, if the word is bread, they might read the word as bird or break.

There are several reasons for why a child might guess at words, and it’s important to speak with your child’s teacher if you pick up on a habit. Persistent guessing will make reading meaningless and frustrating for a child, and may discourage them from reading altogether.

Here are some ways you can help your child overcome their guessing habit.

1. Explain the ‘how’ of decoding words. When your child comes across an unknown word, show them how they can sound out the word by breaking it up into smaller parts (e.g. /c/…/a/…/t/).

2. Break up words into two parts. Cover the last part of the word with your finger and ask your child to say the first part. Then cover the first part and say the last part.

3. Read slowly and have your child repeat after you. Point to each sound as your read a sentence, and then ask your child to repeat after you. This will encourage them to pay attention to each individual part that makes up a word.

4. Use context clues. When your child guesses a word incorrectly, ask them if what they have read makes sense. Go back to the words they have read correctly and look at the pictures to help them use context clues to figure it out.

5. Combine context with sounding out parts of a word. Go back to an unknown word and ask your child to repeat the words that precede and follow it. Then ask them to sound out at least the first one or two sounds of the word. This will encourage them to use both the context of the sentence and the letter sounds.

6. Read nursery rhymes. Rhymes help children pay closer attention to word sounds by listening out for patterns. Take turns reading aloud each line of a nursery rhyme so that you can set up the rhythm and pace for your child to follow.

7. Play word family games. Choose an ending word family (e.g. -am, -at, -ed, -it) and ask your child to say and write all of the words they can come up with that end with that sound. This will help them build essential phonics skills.

8. Create word cards. Write some words that have three sounds on separate pieces of card, e.g. cow, bat, dog, lip, sun, pot. Let your child choose a card, read the word together, and then hold up three fingers. Ask them to tell you the first sound they hear in the word, then the second, then the third.

9. Use letter magnets. If your child struggles with middle vowel sounds, prepare letter magnets on the fridge and pull the vowels to one side (a, e, i, o, u). Say a CVC word (consonant-vowel-consonant), for example cat, and ask your child to spell it using the magnets. To help them, say each vowel sound aloud (/ayh/, /eh/, /ih/, /ah/, /uh/) while pointing at its letter, and ask your child which one makes a sound similar to the middle sound.

Reading Eggs includes hundreds of self-paced and structured phonics games, activities and lessons designed to teach children to read in a fun and motivating way.

Start your free trial of Reading Eggs here.

The Awesome Benefits of Comic Books for Children

benefits comic books for kids

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. Start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.

For a long while comic books have gotten a pretty bad rap. They were the sneaky distraction that schoolchildren disguised inside the pages of ‘real books’. People saw them as a more simplified version of reading; something that couldn’t offer the same complexity or developmental benefits that ‘serious books’ could.

But now parents and educators are beginning to see the hidden benefits of the humble comic book (or graphic novel). Professor Carol Tilley from the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois says, “A lot of the criticism of comics and comic books come from people who think that kids are just looking at the pictures and not putting them together with the words.

“Some kids, yes. But you could easily make some of the same criticisms of picture books – that kids are just looking at pictures, and not at the words.”

Here are just some of the awesome benefits of reading comic books:

1. They turn reluctant readers into ravenous readers.

One of the best and most obvious benefits of comic books is that they can be more fun and easier to read than regular books. This can be extremely appealing to young children who would otherwise have little interest in reading traditional forms of books. Many children who think they hate reading respond particularly well to comic books that are based on movies or television shows they enjoy, such as Scooby-Doo and Astro Boy.

2. They give struggling readers confidence.

Comic books don’t intimidate struggling readers with an overwhelming page of text. They usually offer short and easy-to-read sentences, alongside other visual and text cues (e.g. character sighs, door slams etc.) for context. They’re also helpful for children with learning difficulties; children with autism can learn a lot about identifying emotions through the images in a comic book. Children with dyslexia, who may find it frustrating to finish a page in a traditional book, often feel a sense of accomplishment when they complete a page in a comic book. And as many of us know, accomplishment plays a key role in building confident and fluent readers.

3. They increase your child’s inference.

Observation refers to seeing something happening. Inference refers to figuring out something based on evidence and reasoning. It’s an important component of successful comprehension and a valuable life skill for all young children to develop. Comic books can increase inference in young children by encouraging them to “read between the lines” and infer meaning from the images. Children who read comics often need to infer what is not written by the narrator, which is a complex reading strategy. Comic books also help children become familiar with sequencing and understanding succinct language.

4. They expand your child’s bank of words.

When many people think of comic books, they probably don’t take into account the repository of words used on every page, or the opportunity they offer to strengthen vocabulary skills. Comic books give children a unique opportunity to acquire new vocabulary in combination with context cues, that is, information from pictures or from other text cues to help children decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words.

5. They can be a valuable accompaniment for other learning disciplines.

Comic books that explore or touch on historical events, classic tales, wildlife, nature, positive relationships and more can provide a valuable supplement to other areas of learning. For example, if your child is learning about the ancient Egyptians, a comic book story set in ancient Egypt may use pictures to explain important period details, such as clothing, food, rituals, farming, construction, trade, commerce, and cultural and social traits. By taking in a combination of words and illustrations, many children obtain the big picture more easily and with more enthusiasm than they would from using textbooks alone.

6. There are many different comic book genres to suit all tastes.

Comic books aren’t just about superheros and villains. And they’re certainly not just for boys. Comic books and graphic novels are spread across many different genres, including comedy, drama, sci-fi and fantasy, and there is bound to be something to suit all tastes, ages and reading levels. There may even be something that you might like to get into yourself, or enjoy together with your child, snuggled up before bedtime!

Reading Eggs is the multi-award winning online reading program that makes learning to read fun. With hundreds of guided reading lessons, fun games, lovable characters, exciting rewards and over 2000 e-books, start your child’s reading journey with a special free trial offer today.