Welcome to our Helpful Hints Section

Helping Your Child to Read

There are a number of things that as parents and carers you can do to help your child become a confident reader.

Look for clues:

  • Talk about the book before it is read.
  • Look at the title and cover picture (discuss).
  • Find the author and illustrator; discuss their contribution to the book.
  • Discuss if they have read other books by the same author.


Have your child read through the book page by page. Talk about what is happening and what might happen next. During the read, ask your child to visualise what is happening in their head. Ask if they can see the characters and the setting.


Allow your child time to work out words (maximum time 10 seconds) if they can't, tell them the word. Encourage strategies to help solve difficult words such as using verbal prompts like:

  • Does it look right?
  • Does it sound right?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Re read the sentence to gain more clues or to help the child self correct.
  • Look for clues in the picture.
  • Look at what the child already knows about the difficult word e.g. what does it begin with, or end in. Can you find any little words inside?
  • Have a go.
  • Try it again.


After your child has finished reading the book, ask questions about the events:

  • Did they enjoy the book?
  • Discuss the main characters, the setting, the problem and the solution.
  • Talk about their favourite part.
  • Discuss parts that they didn't like.
  • Find and re read their favourite part.
  • Think of a different beginning or ending to the story.


Ask your child to retell the main events of the story. Say "I like the way you read the story, now tell me what happened in your own words."

Encourage and praise:

Always provide positive feedback. For example:

  • I really liked the way you made your voice change when you saw the talking marks.
  • It was great to see you work out that tricky word by looking at the letters at the beginning or finding a little word you already knew inside.
  • How did you fix that up? You are so clever.
  • You are sounding like a real story teller.

No matter how challenging things can get it is important to stay positive about both your child, and reading in general. We all differ in how we learn and the time it can take, however, with work, improvement will happen. No child is un-teachable.