I think it is pretty common knowledge these days that there is a direct correlation between academic achievement and reading. The benefits of reading are apparent at any age, but I believe that imbuing a love of reading at a young age is critical to maximising benefit in later years. Expert Literacy educator Annie Facchinetti has shared her top ten tips for reading at home, helping children become better and more confident readers.
Find Books You Both Enjoy If you’ve read a book that you both love, read it again! Repetition reinforces knowledge.
Expand Your Book Search Parameters You can find things to read everywhere, not just in bookshops. Try local libraries, second-hand shops or markets. Friends and family are often keen to share their books too.
Books Aren't the Only Reading Material Don’t think books are the only thing to read. You can read anything together, including the shopping list, road signs when you’re in the car, and posters in shop windows.
Prioritise Reading Time Set aside a regular reading time that works with your life. Make it a habit that you both look forward to and finish every day with a story before bed.
Enlist the Help of Siblings Enlist the help of brothers and sisters - If your day gets too busy, siblings might like to read together. Ask them to tell you all about what they have read.
Familiarise Yourself with the Text Beforehand If you are not confident, ensure you’re pitch perfect by preparing yourself. Before reading with your daughter, practice reading the book, so you know the story line and the expression required. Find any tricky words that you might need to explain to your child.
Take Your Time While Reading Remember to read slowly - Take your time and make it interesting to listen to. Encourage your child to join in too.
Analyse the Cover Judge a book by its cover. Look at the cover of the book together and have your daughter guess what it is going to be about. What is the book called? What can you see in the pictures? Talk about the book as you read.
Discuss the Stories Together When you’ve finished the book (or a page or a chapter or whatever you are reading), talk about it together. Who were your favourite characters? What happened? What was the ending like? This talk can happen while you’re doing other things, such as getting dinner ready, or driving to dance practice.
Change Up Your Reading Location Reading together can happen anywhere - The living room floor, the back veranda, or the kitchen table all make great reading spots. Take photos and make a book together of the funniest or strangest places you can find for reading time.
Whatever you choose to do, the idea is to make reading fun. Your daughters love having your attention and thrive on sharing the reading experience with you.
Dr John Fry
Deputy Principal - Studies