Today there was a whole section on The Guardian on Reading with Kids. A subject close and dear to my heart (see my post: Classic Lit for Kids – Getting Started). Tim Dowling wrote a wonderful article titled “Reading with kids? How hard can it be?”
Like many parents, Mr. Dowling had a problem reading to his kids. We all had that, that hint of doubt which roots in your mind, the knowledge that your narrative voice is absolutely nothing like the one in your head, and more.
The purpose of the article though is to give parents some tips to get their kids to read. There are some excellent tips at the bottom (make sure you read the article for context), I was going to write a few more but unfortunately there is no place for comments.
Focus on flow, not accuracy – when kids learn to read it’s OK to give them a book a step below their level and help them if they struggle or make a simple mistake but don’t nitpick too much. When they read it the second time, that’s when you can make the corrections.
Encourage them to read to their toys – toys are wonderful. They don’t criticize, they don’t judge, they don’t know if they made a mistake and… they listen. You don’t even have to be there. Yes, the kids will make mistakes, but they’ll be reading.
Use a pointer finger– point to the words and have them do the same. Our daughter is smart, but she’s too smart for her own good. Instead of reading she looks at the picture and tries to guess what the text says. At first we covered up the pictures (we asked the teacher to do the same) but now she uses her finger.
Mr. Dowling’s last advice is priceless – make it FUN!!!
Zohar – Man of la Book