From age 6, your child’s journey towards independent reading will be underway.
At this age, it’s still just as important for you to read with and read to your child, even if they start reading by themselves.
At school they will be learning about the mechanics of the written word:
- how letters make sounds
- how we put sounds together to make words
- how we put words in a sentence together to make meaning.
There’s a lot going on.
Many children will be able to “say” words, but they may not know what the words mean.
This is why some people say that reading is like problem solving.
Becoming a confident reader takes time and practise.
So, make sure your child knows that it’s okay to make mistakes. Even confident adult readers will make mistakes. It’s normal to feel unsure when you come across a word or a phase you haven’t seen before. Even when you are 80!
When your child comes across an unusual word, talk with them about what it could mean.
Reading at school
From story time on the mat to borrowing books from the library, your child’s school will be a key part of their reading journey.
When your child is ready, teachers will send home simple picture books called “Home Readers”. These books have been specifically designed for children who are learning how to read.
They will also be a great opportunity for your child to take the lead when you sit down to read together.
Top tips for reading with 6-8 year olds
- Keep reading all kinds of books to your child. They will learn new words and hear what a fluent reader sounds like.
- It’s okay for your child to read from memory. This is part of learning how to read.
- It’s okay to read a book to your child first and then ask them to try to read it aloud by themselves.
- Try taking turns, you read a page and get them to read a page.
- If they are reluctant readers, find a book that taps into their interests – are they interested in cars, basketball, horses, dolls – your school or local library can help.
- If they are getting too frustrated, take over and read with them until they feel calm enough to try again.
- If you are both getting frustrated, stop reading and try again the next day.
- Figure out the best time of day for you and your child, is it breakfast time, bedtime, late afternoon?
- After you’ve finished reading, talk about what happened in the book.
- If you are reading a book to your child that is difficult for them or about an unfamiliar topic, get them to follow the words with their eyes.
Each child develops at their own rate. If you are concerned about your child’s progress with reading, talk to your child’s teacher. They can let you know how they are going and what else you can do at home to help.