Why Co-reading with your Child is Important
Research has shown how important reading for pleasure is to children’s future mental well- beingand economic success. Books enable children to discover new places, meet new people and learn.Furthermore, by sparking their imaginations, stimulating critical thinking and helping todevelop empathy, reading gives children the 21st Century skills they need to succeed at school,at work and in life.
Getting the right book at the right time in your child’s hands is the key to an ongoing positivereading experience. Now that devices such as tablets and mobile phones are commonly used at homeand school, we do not turn to books so much for information or pleasure. But as well asproviding all the benefits mentioned above, reading with a family member or the whole familyalso helps to provide a strong bond and can be a crucial, restful and nurturing part of a dailyroutine, especially during this time of isolation. This is where co-reading comes in.
Co-reading is just that. You take time out each day to sit with your child and share the readingexperience. The benefits of co-reading are:
- It nurtures a growing bond between the child and co-reader
- It takes the pressure from the child who may become tired or overwhelmed faced with severalpages to read
- You can introduce books that provide a bit more of a challenge to the child. As you will bereading alternate pages, you can read the words that may be new to your child and encouragethem to be expressive when reading aloud.
- You may have other opportunities to discuss the theme of the book you are reading, and thismay provide another useful and enjoyable activity in the home.
- You could also get the audio-book version and take turn to follow the words in the book.
How to Co-read with your Child
- Help your child to choose a book which appeals (adventure, animals, nature, etc.)
- Choose a book which is of a slightly higher level than what they are used to reading (lookat words which may be new to them – not too many new words but enough for a bit of achallenge).
- Skip through the book first yourself so you know what to expect and how you might model itwith expression.
- Sit comfortably and explain that you are going to read a page each (or a paragraph each ifnecessary) and you will begin.
- It might be a good idea to follow the page down with a marker, then you can hover over newor difficult words and bring those words to the child’s attention.
- Be enthusiastic with your expression of the text to make it come to life.
- When it is your child’s turn to read, follow the text with a marker, ruler etc. until theydecide it is not necessary.
- If after you have modelled new or challenging words, your child still doesn’t grasp them, goback to those words, break them into bits, sound them out together, chant or sing them. Makeit ‘OK’ to get them wrong.
- When it is time to put the book down, ask questions about what you have both read to checkthey have understood. Revise any words that may have been a challenge. Spend a couple ofminutes discussing what has happened in the story today and what might happen next.
- Make it a fun and special time for you as co-readers. This can also be carried out with agroup if other members of the family are willing to participate.
Most important of all - enjoy. This is special time for you also to create happy memories.