There is a lot more to reading than decoding the words. Children with dyslexia can miss out on developing essential reading skills because they are struggling so much with sounding out each word. Many then become ‘turned off’ from reading and so it is important to find a way to help foster an enjoyment of books and develop their general reading skills at home.

We suggest that at home, the main aim should be to make reading together as enjoyable as possible, especially during the holidays.

By the way, do your children see you and other significant adults reading for pleasure? Most of what children do is as a result if modelling parents and other adults so this is always a great start!

1. The Five Finger Test

Make sure the book is the right level if your child is going to read it themselves. Ask your child to start reading the book. Count the errors on your fingers and if they make more than 5 errors on a page encourage your child to find an easier book.

2. Provide The Word

Just give your child the word if they are struggling to sound it out – this takes the stress away – you want reading at home to be fun. You can also take it in turns to read either a sentence, paragraph or page depending on your child’s reading level.

3. Post-It!

Write unknown words onto Post-Its as you go, these can then be displayed on the fridge or wall for practice.

4. Practice Makes Fluent.

Go through a passage or page with your child, giving them the words they don’t know. Once they have a good grasp of the words and the meaning, they can practise reading the same page out loud several times to themselves, a younger brother or sister, an understanding friend and even better, to a pet. Animals don’t judge!

5. Meaning Is The Key.

Don’t worry if it seems they are ‘just memorising the words’ – the intention is to develop confidence and fluency.

6. Take It Up A Level.

Read more challenging texts together – you start reading, tracking where you are with your finger or end of a pencil, your child can join in if they see a word they know. Or just read to your child and enjoy the book together.

7. Reading With Their Ears.

Use audio books – these can stimulate imagination and give your child an idea of the joy of becoming immersed in a book. There are lots of sites offering free audio books for kids. Also, youtube has videos of books so check those out.

8. Variety Is The Spice of Life.

Read a wide variety of material from comics, joke books to how to make a bug house.

9. What’s the Point?

Encourage reading for a purpose, for example, finding out places to visit, learning more about a hobby etc.

10. Sharing is Caring.

Discuss the book and see what each person thinks and how opinions may match or differ!

For more ideas see our articles: ‘Book Talk – discussion ideas for parents and younger children (age 5-7)’ and ‘Book Talk – discussion ideas for parents and older children (age 7-11)’.