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Another way to get your child ready for school success in develop skills for reading is reading every day.

Let your child pick the books she wants to read. Your child loves to hear favorite books read over and over. Let her fill in the words she knows as you read along. Stop and talk about what is happening in the story. Ask open-ended questions like “why” and “how” to get your child thinking more about the story.

Do more with words. Show your child that there is so much more to read than just books - cereal boxes, road signs, food labels. Let your child see you write the names of her favorite foods on a grocery list and then pick out those food items together at the store. And point out letters of the alphabet.

Let your child pretend to write. Writing is an important part of the reading process. Drawing pictures and scribbling are the first steps in learning to write. Let your child “write” a story to go with one of her drawings and then have her read it to you. Let her see her name and let her try to write it. Don’t worry if it's just scribbles. Writing will come later.

Always let reading time be fun! Never take away reading time as punishment. You don’t want your child to feel threatened by reading. Not only should reading time be fun, but it should also be a time when your child feels safe, secure and loved.


The READ Strategy

One interactive reading strategy, READ, developed by the Rollins Center, Atlanta Speech School, has proven to be successful in supporting these standards.   The READ strategy includes four steps for reading with your child. A book guide, using this strategy, is included with each free book, mailed monthly, by Ferst Readers.  If your child is not receiving Ferst Readers books, go online and register now.  


Repeat the book.
Read the same book with your child multiple times in the course of one week to help them understand the story and gain new vocabulary.
Focus on different aspects of the book each time you read together. For example, during the first read focus on the key events, or what is happening in the story, on subsequent reads focus on how the main characters feel throughout the story.



Engage and enjoy.
We know that story time can be tough at the end of a long day, but it should also be fun for you and your child. Try the PAT technique:
P – Point to the picture as you say the word
A – Act out the word, then encourage your child to act it out too
T – Tell a child-friendly definition of the word

The PAT technique helps children understand the meaning of new vocabulary. You can also try using different voices for characters to make the story really come to life.



Ask questions.
After reading the story ask questions about things that happened in the story, how characters feel about certain events or what the character learned. Try to strike a balance between closed (e.g., “What color is the barn?”) and open-ended (e.g., “Why do you think the boy is sad?”) questions. Closed questions are the “what” and “who” types of questions that typically require a 1-2 word response, whereas open-ended questions are more often the “how” and “why” questions that encourage longer, language-rich responses.
As appropriate, model responses to open-ended questions for children with less expressive language.
We ask questions to encourage children to think and talk about the book, not to give us a “correct” answer.


Do more.
Learning the meaning of words takes more than just listening – it requires action! You can go beyond the books to help your child use the words she learned in the real world. Children can embrace new words by using them in their own adventures. Think of simple ways you can use the vocabulary from the story throughout your day and week. It takes multiple exposures of a word, across different contexts for children to understand the meaning and make the word their own.

Now, let’s take a look at a video of the READ strategy in action with parents and children.

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Kid Painting


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