Reading

How You Can Help at Home
Research shows that the single most effective way to improve a child’s reading ability is by reading! It is recommended that Primary aged school children should read at home every day for 20 minutes. This time should be an easy and fun process, not one which creates a daily battle. The easiest way for this to happen is to make reading an enjoyable experience for all involved by mixing up the reading that takes place. This might include:

  • Your child(ren) reading to you
  • You reading to your child(ren)
  • Taking turns to read a page each
  • Your child(ren) reading silently
  • Your child listening to an ebook

At Kokopu School we use the better start literacy approach in our junior school. It is based on learning to sound out letters, groups of letters and whole words.

www.betterstartapproach.com/childrens-readers-families-school

Click the link to see online versions of the Better Start Literacy readers your child will bring home.

On the back pages are extra activities and ideas you can do at home.


www.storytime.rnz.co.nz/

Storytime (formerly Children’s Treasure Chest) has hundreds of New Zealand’s best children’s stories by some of our most celebrated writers including Lynley Dodd, Joy Cowley and Tessa Duder. The collection is organised by topic, title and listening age so you can easily find the right story for your little ones (or they can find it for themselves!)

Listen to the full collection on our dedicated Storytime website

NZ School Journals Online

Read the NZ School Journals online. These are the same journals that our students use at school. They are full of interesting article, stories and poems.
Search for something of interest or a year. Online version are from 2016 onwards.

Year 1

Make reading fun

Reading at home should be fun and easy. It should be something you both look forward to and a time for laughter and talk.

  • Share the reading, take turns or see whether your child wants to read or be read to today
  • All children like to be read to, so keep reading to them. You can read in your first language
  • Visit the library together and help them choose books to share
  • Read emails from family or whānau aloud
  • Play card and board games together.

Here’s a tip: talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Talk about reading

  • Ask about the sounds of letters and groups of letters. Eg sh, tr, mop, top, pop…
  • Talk about pictures in books
  • Sing waiata and songs, read poems and make up rhymes together (the funnier the better)
  • Be a role model. Let your child see you enjoying reading and talk about what you are enjoying
  • Point out words on signs, shops and labels
  • Play word games like “I spy” and “Simon says”

Make it a special time together

Reading is a great chance for you and your child to spend special time together. Make reading:

  • quiet and relaxing
  • a time to sit close to your child
  • 10–15 minutes without interruption, away from the TV
  • an enjoyable, interesting and special time
  • a time to praise your child for making an effort

Here are some tips: if your child is stuck on a word wait a few seconds, give them a chance to think. If they are still stuck, help them to try to work the word out by saying, “read the sentence again and think what would make sense”. Ask “could it be …?” (and give a word that might fit). The pictures also help them check they have got the right word. If they still can’t work out the word, tell them and praise their efforts. Remember, reading should be fun.

Help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Year 2

Make reading fun

Reading at home needs to be fun and easy. It should be something you both look forward to, a time for laughter and talk.

  • Find a comfortable, quiet place away from the TV for the two of you to cosy up and read for 10–15 minutes
  • If you or your child start to feel stressed, take a break and read the rest of the story aloud yourself – keep it fun
  • Make some puppets (from old socks or cardboard tubes, or use cut-outs on sticks etc.) that you and your child can use to act out the story you have read. Or dress up and make it into a play
  • Play card games (you can make the cards yourself)
  • Read songs, waiata, poems and rhymes and sing them together, too.

Here’s a tip: when they are reading, your child will still be coming across words they don’t know. When this happens, you could remind them to think about what they already know to do when they get stuck. If that doesn’t help you might ask “What word would make sense that starts like that?” or “What do you know about that word that might help?” If they still can’t work it out – tell them the word and praise their efforts.

Take your child to the library

  • help them choose books to share
  • find other books by the same author or on the same topic (or look for more information on the web – you might have to be the reader for this one).

Here’s a tip: help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Talk about reading

  • Talk about the story and the pictures, other stories you have read, and experiences you have both had that are like those in the story
  • Sometimes you can be the listener, sometimes the reader and sometimes you can take turns. They might like to read to the cat, the dog, their teddy or a big brother
  • All children like to be read to, so don’t stop reading to them no matter how old they are
  • Encourage your child to read all sorts of things, for example, the TV guide in the newspaper, street signs and food labels. Simple recipes are great and you get to eat what you’ve read about, too!

Here’s a tip: talk with your child all the time and give them time to talk with you. You can use your first language.

Year 3

Make reading fun

  • Have fun singing along to karaoke songs or playing board games together
  • Read to your child every day. You can use your first language
  • Have a pile of reading materials available. For example, library books (non-fiction and fiction), kids’ cookery books, simple timetables, newspapers and magazines, catalogues and any other reading that supports your child’s current interest
  • Encourage your child to retell favourite stories or parts of stories in their own words. Play card games (you can make the cards yourself) and board games together.

Here are some tips: when they are reading, your child will be working at solving unfamiliar words by themself. If they need help you could ask them to work their way across the word looking for things they know that might help. At this level, reading involves bringing everything they know together to solve problems and build understanding. If they can’t work it out, tell them the word and carry on with reading.

If you or your child starts to feel stressed by what they’re reading, take a break and read the rest of the story aloud yourself. Keep it fun.

Make it real

  • Reading makes more sense if your child can relate it to their own life. Help them to make connections between what they are reading and their own lives and experiences. For example, “that’s a funny story about a grandad. What does your grandad do that makes you laugh?”, “We saw a big mountain in that book, what is our mountain called, and where did the name come from?”
  • Look for opportunities for your child to read wherever you are, for example, signs, advertising billboards, junk mail, recipes
  • Show your child that reading is fun and important to you by letting them see you reading magazines, books, newspapers.

Find out together

  • Visit the library often and help your child to choose books about topics that interest them
  • Talk with older people or kaumātua in your family about interesting stories and people from your child’s past that you could find out more about together
  • Ask your child questions (and support them to find the answers) to widen their reading experiences. For example, “What’s the quickest biscuit recipe?”, “What time is the next bus to town?”
  • Help your child with any words that they don’t understand. Look them up together in the dictionary if you need to.

Year 4

Read and talk together

  • Get your child to tell you about what they are reading. Who is their favourite character and why? Is there anyone like that in your family? What do they think is going to happen? What have they learnt from their reading? Does it remind them of any of their own experiences?
  • Help your child with any words they don’t understand – look them up together in the dictionary if you need to
  • Read recipes, instructions, manuals, maps, diagrams, signs and emails. It will help your child to understand that words can be organised in different ways on a page, depending on what it’s for
  • Read junk mail – your child could compare costs, make their own ‘advertisements’ by cutting up junk mail or come up with clever sentences for a product they like.

Here’s a tip: talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Read with others

  • If your child has chosen something to read that is too hard at the moment, take turns and read it together
  • Reading to younger brothers or sisters, whānau or grandparents will give your child an opportunity to practise reading out loud
  • Encourage other family members (Aunty, Grandma, Koro) to read to and with your child
  • Playing board games and card games is important, too
  • Choose games that everyone wants to play. Make them challenging, not too easy.

Here are some tips: keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made-up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice!

When they are reading, the most common difficulty your child is likely to have is working out the meaning of new words, phrases and expressions. To do this your child will use their knowledge of words and word patterns (eg prefixes, suffixes and root words) to help build meaning. You may need to remind your child to read back and forward for clues to help their understanding of what they are reading. Talk with your child about the meaning.

Take your child to the library

  • Help your child to choose a variety of books they want to read
  • Help them look for books about topics they’re learning about at school
  • Get your child to choose a book that you can read to them (listening to you read helps them with their reading)
  • Encourage your child to retell favourite stories or parts of stories in their own words.

Here’s a tip: help your child link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Year 5

Talk about their reading

  • Ask your child what they are reading and talk about their ideas: What is the ‘picture’ they have of particular characters? Are there people like that in your family or whānau? What do they want to find out from the book? What are the important messages? What do they think is going to happen next? What else do they need to know to understand the story or topic?
  • Talk about books on similar topics. This helps your child to pull together ideas from different places
  • Talk about different types of stories that are read or spoken. Newspaper articles, internet sites, whakataukī (proverbs), comics, bible stories, songs, waiata or novels will each have different points you can talk about together. Find a newspaper article you’re both interested in and talk about what it means to each of you
  • Help your child to share their thinking. Get them to share opinions and talk about why they think that. Listen, even when you don’t agree with their ideas.

Here’s a tip: give your child space and time to read. Reading longer books they have chosen needs plenty of time.

Read together

  • Find out information together from different places. For example, manuals, dictionaries, the Internet, magazines, television guides, atlases, family tree information, whakapapa
  • Play games that involve reading in a fun way
  • Encourage your child to read to others
  • Younger brothers and sisters, whānau or grandparents are great audiences for practising smooth and interesting reading out loud
  • Visit the library regularly. Help your child choose books they’re interested in (about hobbies, interests or who they are and where they come from) or encourage them to get books out that are about what they are studying at school. They may need you to help by reading to them, as well
  • Find books of movies or TV programmes. It can help your child to learn different ways to tell the same story if they read the ‘stories’ they have watched.

Here’s a tip: help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Be a reader yourself

  • Talk about what you are reading and why you are enjoying it or what is challenging about it. Read a book to your child that they might find difficult but want to read, and talk about it as you read. Use your first language whenever you can – it can help your child’s learning
  • Read the same book or magazine as your child. You can then share your ideas about what you have read. You could talk about why the authors made the choices they did when writing the story.

Here’s a tip: keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice.

Year 6

Make reading fun

  • Have discussions together about books – read the books your child is reading
  • Encourage Internet research about topics of interest – notice what they are keen on
  • Make your home a reader-friendly home with plenty of books, magazines, newspapers that everyone can read – look for books and magazines at fairs and second-hand shops. Ask your family or whānau if they have any they no longer want
  • Share what you think and how you feel about the characters, the story or the opinions in magazines and newspapers you are reading. It is important that your child sees you as a reader and you talk about what you are reading.

Here’s a tip: encourage your child to read every day. Make reading fun and praise your child’s efforts, all the time.

Read together

  • Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do, no matter how old they are. You can use your first language
  • When you are reading to your child, you can talk about words or ideas in the text that your child might not have come across before
  • Children are often interested in new words and what they mean – encourage them to look them up in a dictionary or ask family/whānau about the meaning and origin.

Here’s a tip: keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice!

Keep them interested

  • Help your child identify an author, character or series of books they particularly like and find more in the series or by the author
  • Talk about the lyrics of songs or waiata, or the words of poems your child is learning, and see if there are any links to who they are, and where they come from
  • Think about subscribing to a magazine on your child’s special interest, eg animals, their iwi, kapa haka or sport, or check out the magazines at the library, or on the Internet
  • Go to your local library to choose books together. These might be books your child can read easily by themself. They might be books your child wants to read but are a bit hard – you can help by reading a page to them, then helping them read the next one
  • Play card and board games together – the more challenging the better.

Here’s a tip: be a great role model. Let your child see you enjoying reading – whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine, a comic, a cookbook or a novel. Read in the language that works best for you.

Year 7-8

Make reading fun

  • Play card and board games and do complicated puzzles
  • Help your child to follow a recipe and cook for the family
  • Encourage your child to read and follow instructions for playing a game, making or using a piece of equipment, or completing a competition entry form.
  • Remember their reading doesn’t have to be a book – it could be a magazine, comic, newspaper or something from the Internet.

Here’s a tip: talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Talk about it

  • Ask your child to talk about parts of a story they liked and why
  • Talk about the key facts, characters, plot, setting, theme and author’s purpose
  • Have them retell the main ideas or describe characters, events or facts they were interested in
  • Ask them to show you where the story supports their thinking
  • Be a role model. Show you read for a variety of reasons; eg to compare products advertised in brochures, to be informed on current issues, to find a phone number or a bus timetable, to relax etc
  • Try reading the same book as your child so you can talk about it together
  • Talk about the TV show you are watching. What were the main ideas? Talk about the order events happen in – practising this skill is important as children can find this difficult to learn. What did they like/dislike and why?

Here are some tips: encourage your child to read every day. Make reading fun and praise your child’s efforts, all the time.

Help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Read to your child

  • Just because your child can read doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy listening to someone else reading. It could be a non-fiction book on a topic they like, a magazine, a newspaper, a short story or a longer book read in instalments. It could also be a more difficult book/article that your child needs your help to read and understand
  • You could also listen to audio stories together – you can borrow these from the library or download from the internet
  • Encourage your child to read the lyrics to their favourite songs, waiata or haka. Talk about why the composer wrote the song. What were they trying to say? Search the internet for more information

Here’s a tip: keep the magic of just listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice.

Keep them interested

  • Find books or magazines about your child’s interests. Reading about their favourite sport, player, team or kapa haka group or an issue they are interested in will help them to be an expert on a particular subject
  • Find books that relate to TV shows or movies they know, or the area they come from. Knowing some of the ideas, characters or ancestors/tīpuna before you start reading can make it easier to understand a book. Talk about how the book differs from the TV show or movie and how it builds on what they already know
  • Join the library and visit regularly to help your child choose books that interest them – you may want to encourage your child to read different types of books including non-fiction stories.

Here’s a tip: be positive whenever your child is reading, no matter what they are reading. Respect your child’s opinion as it shows they are thinking about what they read.