Reading Together: Tips for Parents

Reading together is one of the best ways to help your child be successful when he/she returns to school in the fall. It is a great time to bond so snuggle up together with a good book!

Set aside some quiet time each day to read a book with your child. Just 15 or 20 minutes out of your day is a huge investment in his or her future. Doing so will build vocabulary and help your child become a fluent reader.

Reading Together to Improve Fluency

Fluency is how smoothly a person reads. It is almost impossible to read for meaning if the reading is done word by word. The text must flow in order for it to have meaning, and it is the key to comprehension.

Repeated reading of the same text builds fluency, which is why it is important that children read and practice books more than once.

The following guidelines may be used when reading with your child to improve fluency:

  1. Read the book to your child and talk about the story together. Stop and talk about the pictures and relate things in the story to things your child knows.
  2. Have your child point to words he/she knows on the first page. Using a liner (folded piece of paper to put under each line), read the book a second time together—at the same time—like you were doing a duet.
  3. Have your child read the book to you, using a liner.

Reading Together to Build Vocabulary

Learning to read is about vocabulary - the number of words a person knows. Having conversations and telling stories are wonderful activities for building vocabulary, and all three can be included when reading a book or a story with your child.

The following is a suggested procedure for use when encountering an unfamiliar word:

  1. Allow your child to make guesses about what the new word means and help him/her look for clues to the meaning of the word in the surrounding text. Figuring out a word from how it is used in the sentence - its context - is an important skill in reading and can help your child unlock the meanings of many words just by how they are used.
  2. Look up the word together. Print dictionaries are almost a thing of the past, having been replaced by smartphone apps and dictionaries online. Two of the many excellent online dictionaries are and
  3. Discuss words that mean the same or almost the same thing (synonyms) and also words which mean the opposite (antonyms.)
  4. Choose one of the new words to be the "word of the day" and use it throughout the day (or the next day if your reading time is in the evening.) Think of something special to give him/her each time your child remembers the word when he hears it - a penny, a peppermint, etc.

Reading with your child can also be a way for him/her to learn key sight word vocabulary which is so critically important to fluent reading.

Need help choosing books? Visit The Reading Nook.

Go to Parents as Teachers from Reading Together

Go to Learning Sight Words from Reading Together

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.


For Parents

Car Games
Car games and activities can help children be successful in school this year. Among these fun learning games are rhyming games and memory games for children.

Benefits of Play
The benefits of play are many because for children, play and learning are one in the same. Certain types of play can help your children learn, so let the games begin!

Reading Together
Reading together is one of the best ways to help your child be successful when he/she returns to school in the fall. It is a great time to bond so snuggle up together with a good book!

Other suggestions

  • Have real conversations with your child about everything you see and do. Answer his/her questions—and ask some of your own.
  • Read to and with your child at every opportunity and talk about what you have read.
  • Point our words on signs and labels at home and in stores.
  • Encourage your child to play outdoors and to run, hop, skip, jump, and balance.
  • Sing and dance to music at every opportunity.
  • Clap in time to music.
  • See and do things you have not done before, then ask your child what he/she saw and did.
  • When watching movies or television programs together, pause them and ask your child to tell you what has happened and what he/she thinks will happen next. Discuss the meaning of unfamiliar words.