Don’t cover the pictures.
Sometimes parents worry that their child isn’t “really reading,” but instead using the pictures to “read.” This is actually a great strategy. Early readers need the pictures to help them understand the story.
DO enjoy the pictures together!
Discuss the pictures. Help your child make the connection between what is happening in the pictures and what is written in the text.
Don’t ask straight comprehension questions.
While it is very important for children to understand what they’ve read, straight forward questioning about what happened in the story can make them feel like they're being tested. This often squelches a child’s natural desire to talk about a book.
DO have a conversation about a book with your child!
Having an authentic discussion with your child is a wonderful way to foster critical thinking about books and to further enjoy reading together. After reading a book to your child or listening to him or her read to you, share what may have surprised you or how you might have written a different ending if you were the author. Ask your child for his or her opinion about the way a particular character acted or a choice a character made. Share your opinions. Search back through the book together looking for clues in the pictures or in the words to confirm your thinking. Teaching children to understand, infer and think beyond the text is as important as remembering the plot of the story. There’s no better way to do this than engaging in a rich discussion.
Don’t worry if the books seem too easy.
Parents often worry that their children should be reading more challenging texts. But reading books that are too difficult can cause children to revert to bad habits such as sounding out every word letter by letter and ignoring the meaning of the story.
DO encourage your child to read familiar books fluently with lots of expression! With lots of practice on familiar books, children increase their bank of sight words and learn to recognize common phonetic patterns and build a strong reading system.