5 Tips to Encourage Independent Reading

April 16, 2014

5 Tips to Encourage Independent ReadingIndependent reading is the end product of all the skills your child has learned from your regular reading sessions together. It may be daunting at first, but it is the best practice they can get to become fluent, confident readers.  Try the following to help motivate your child to read on their own:

  • Let them choose – your child will be so much more motivated to read on their own if they choose books that they’re interested in.
  • Set reading goals – give your child something to work towards, for example, they can aim to finish a book before the end of the week, or learn five new words from a book they are reading.
  • Regular reading time – designate a special time after school when your child can read without being disturbed. Setting a regular time will help them get into the habit of reading regularly, and it will soon become a part of their normal daily routine.
  • Be on hand to help – make sure you’re around if your child has any questions about words they can’t read or don’t know the meaning of. If they are having trouble with a word or sentence, try and give them hints to see if they can work it out themselves, instead of simply giving them the answer.
  • Let them tell you all about it – like most people, when you finish a book you want to tell people about it and share your thoughts. Discuss your child’s book with them and ask them questions that will help their comprehension, like ‘Who were the main characters?’ ‘What did you think when…’. ‘What was your favourite part?’

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

5 Fun Ways to Remember Spelling

March 10, 2014

5 Fun Ways to Remember SpellingRemembering how to spell certain words is so much easier when you’re having fun. Try some of these fun activities to improve your child’s spelling:

  • Rainbow Letters – give your child three or four crayons and ask them to write a word over and over again in each colour, layering the colours one on the other to create a rainbow.
  • Telephone – to play this game you will need to make a string/fishing line telephone with cans, or you can just use one of those cardboard tubes that come with wrapping paper. It’s pretty simple, just whisper words and their spelling to each other through your telephone!
  • Sand Box – writing words in sand can help your child remember their spelling. If you don’t have a sand pit in the back yard you can always place sand in some kind of shallow storage device, or better yet, go to the beach!
  • Shaving Cream – this could get messy, but it’s also a lot of fun. Spray a layer of shaving cream on a flat surface and allow your child to write their words in the shaving cream.
  • Fridge Magnets – say the words and have your child spell them on the fridge – a nice activity to take your mind off the dishwashing!

Remember, if your child has difficulty spelling a word, make sure you always praise them if they spell part of the word correctly, and try and suggest what else is needed instead of just giving them the answer. For example, if they have written part of the word, you might say; ‘You have three of the five letters right. One of the letters should be doubled. Can you tell me which one it should be?’

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Ways to Teach Blending

February 28, 2014

3 Ways to Teach BlendingSo, what is blending exactly? Blending is a crucial step on the way to fluent reading. To put it simply, it’s the ability to smoothly combine individual sounds together in words. For example, an early reader may read out each individual sound in the word ‘fast’ like /f/…/a/…/s/…/t/,  while a smooth blending would be sounding the word out as /faasst/.

Some tips to help your child learn how to blend words include:

1. Oral blending activities – call and response activities where you can demonstrate how a word sounds when you read each of its individual sounds out, and then what it sounds like when you read it at regular speed or ‘normally’, will allow your child to better understand how the individual sounds in words are ‘hooked’ together to make a word.

To demonstrate this, tell your child that you are going to play some fun sound games. Explain to them that you will say a word slowly and that they need to repeat the word slowly in the same way, and then say the word at regular speed, or ‘normally.’ For example, for the word ‘cat.’

You: Say ‘/c/…/a/…/t/’.

Child: Repeats the word slowly in the same way as you.

You: ‘Now say it normally’.

Child: Says the word at regular speed.

Try this exercise with simple, one or two syllable words, then as they get the hang of it, try some longer words.

2. The Power of Song – when you sing a word it is a lot harder to sound out the individual sounds in a choppy way as might happen when just reading it aloud. This is why nursery rhymes are so useful, but you can always get creative and make your own songs with words that your child is having difficulty sounding out.

3. Play ‘I Spy’…with a phonics twist – this is a really simple game, much like the original, but instead of simply asking just ‘I Spy something that starts with…’, you also give your child a clue in the form of sounding out the name of the object you’re looking at. To guess correctly, your child needs to put the sounds together to say the name of the object at normal speed. For example, you can say ‘I spy something that sounds like ‘/t/…/a/…/b/…/le/’, then your child needs to put each sound together to say ‘table’ normally.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

3 Ways to Teach Punctuation

February 20, 2014
  1. 3 Ways to Teach PunctuationUse actions and sounds – for beginner readers, a fun, hands on way to introduce them to punctuation is to substitute different punctuation marks with actions or sounds. For example, a full stop is a bang on the table, a comma is a clap, speech marks a click of the fingers, an exclamation mark a high five…or whatever works for you! This will teach them about the natural rhythm and pauses of spoken sentences.
  2. Emphasise punctuation – when reading to your child, try and match your reading pace and tone to reflect each punctuation mark. For example, pause for a comma. For a full stop, pause a little while longer or take a big breath before you start the next sentence. If there is an exclamation mark, make sure you shift to a quicker and more imperative/louder tone. For a question mark, raise your tone on the word just prior so it sounds like you are asking a question.
  3. Undress a sentence – Write down a sentence from a book your child is reading, but take out all the punctuation marks. Ask them to try and punctuate the sentence, then compare with the sentence in the book. You can then read over the punctuated sentence with them, making sure to pause and inflect different tones to account for each punctuation mark.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

10 Learning to Read Do’s and Don’ts

February 3, 2014
  • 10 Learning to Read Dos and DontsDo challenge your child by occasionally choosing a book that is above their current reading level. Nothing too hard though, but something that will introduce them to new words. Always remember the Five Finger Rule to gauge how difficult or easy a book will be.
  • Don’t continue reading a book if it turns out to be too hard. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t finish it! You can always tell your child that they can try reading it again when they’ve had more reading practice.
  • Do introduce your child to the five W’s to discuss what you’re reading – who, what, when, where and why. Encourage them to ask questions starting with each.
  • Don’t give them all the answers right away. If your child is having trouble reading a word, let them try to sound it out for themselves, but give them a hint if they’re really having trouble.
  • Do encourage your child’s involvement when you are reading to them. Ask them to turn the pages, or if they seem like they’re drifting off, ask them ‘What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • Don’t pick a book that your child has already seen on TV or at the movies. Spoiler alert – once they know the plot, they’re likely to lose interest.
  • Do take regular trips to the library. It’s probably the best place to expose your child to a variety of different book genres, plus it can be fun to get out of the house and read in a different environment.
  • Don’t use reading time as a threat or bargaining chip, e.g. ‘If you do your reading you can watch TV for a bit’ or ‘If you don’t clean your room there’ll be no story for you tonight!’ It may be tempting, but it’s always a bad idea to associate reading with any other incentive than learning and having fun.
  • Do let your child see you reading around the house. Be conspicuous about it – let them see that you enjoy reading and that it’s something you do for pleasure. Something as simple as reading the newspaper or a magazine will do!
  • Don’t let your busy lifestyle get in the way of your daily reading sessions with your child. Try and read together every day, or if you lead a super busy lifestyle, at least most days. I’m sure you know by now, but it bears repeating – regular reading practice is very important for developing readers.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

How to Tell if a Book is Just Right

January 24, 2014

It’s important to make sure the books your child reads on their own match their reading level. Books that are too easy may make reading time a bit boring, while those that are too difficult may cause your child to become frustrated, skip parts of it, and fail to understand what happened.

The Five Finger Rule is a quick and easy way to see if a book is suitable for your child to read on their own. Before they start, turn to a random page in the book and ask your child to read the page. For every word that they don’t know, hold up a finger. Use the following guidelines according to how many fingers you end up with:How to Tell if a Book is Just Right

  • 0 or 1 – Most probably too easy for your child
  • 2 – A good choice that will give your child a reasonable challenge and allow them to learn new words.
  • 3 – Your child might need some help, but still a good choice if they’re up for a challenge.
  • 4 – May be too difficult for your child to read on their own. If you are on hand to give them help or read along with them it can be suitable, but if they are reading on their own, choose a different book.
  • 5 – Most probably a bit too advanced, try a different book.

If your child had their heart set on a book that may seem too difficult for them, you can always tell them that they can read it later in the year when they have had more reading practice. Once they have progressed in their reading, they will enjoy these books so much more as they won’t have to skip parts and will be able to read confidently without your help.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

5 Hands-on Ways to Make Reading Fun

January 20, 2014

5 Hands-on Ways to Make Reading FunWe all know how much kids like moving things around with their hands, so why not try and make learning to read a hands-on experience? Try some of the following to make it all the more fun:

  1. Clap to the beat – who doesn’t like to clap? A fun way to teach your child about syllables is to get them to clap each one out in a particular word or sentence.
  2. Get artistic – ask your child to draw or paint a picture of their favourite part of a story. They can even write a few lines underneath to describe the scene.
  3. Put on a show – puppet shows can bring the characters and scenes of a story to life. Encourage your child to put on a show for the family. If you don’t have any hand puppets, you can always get creative and make them together out of socks!
  4. Play your cards right – create a deck of flashcards with sight words on them – words like ‘is’, ‘the’, ‘it’, ‘and’, etc. Make sure you create two of every word so you can play everyone’s favourite card game – snap!
  5. Take a lyrical turn – play one of your child’s favourite songs or nursery rhymes and ask them to write down the lyrics. Encourage them to point out any rhymes and maybe even write their own.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

5 Ways to Improve Handwriting

January 15, 2014

5 Ways to Improve HandwritingWriting isn’t just about vocabulary, grammar and spelling – there’s also the practical aspect that may seem easy to adults, but is part of the learning process for beginners. Some of the best ways you can improve your child’s handwriting include:

1. Get a grip – Writing is made that much harder if you don’t have the write grip. Your child’s hand may fatigue easily if they are holding their pencil the wrong way. Make sure you demonstrate to them how a pencil should be held. If your child is struggling, one of those slide-on pencil grips can help them get the hang of it.

2. Take your time – Is the eraser at the end of your child’s pencil almost worn out? They may be making mistakes because they’re trying to write too fast. If they are just getting used to writing and spelling, let them know that they can take their time.

3. Take the pressure off – holding down a pencil too hard can make it harder to write, especially cursive. Tell your child to gently press down the pencil so they aren’t tearing through the page!

4.  Draw and play games – any activity where your child can practice manipulating a pencil will help improve their writing skills.

5. Focus on the problem – is your child having trouble with letter formation? Is their writing too large or too small? Are they forgetting to put spaces between words? Or are they not writing in straight lines? These are some of the more common difficulties children have with writing, so make sure you identify any of these problems before they become a habit.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!


10 Reading Aloud Do’s and Don’ts

December 6, 2013
  1. 10 Reading Aloud Do's and Don'tsDo try and read to your child every day – this is the best practice your child can get to help them become a fluent reader.
  2. Don’t choose books that are too easy or difficult for your child. If a book seems too difficult or easy, don’t be afraid to stop and change books.
  3. Do find somewhere away from distractions where you can read aloud to your child. Make sure they are comfortable but not too comfortable – lying down may make them more inclined to fall asleep than listen.
  4. Don’t start reading if you don’t have enough time. Make sure you dedicate enough time to discuss the story with your child, and to answer and ask questions.
  5. Do make an effort to read aloud with lots of expression and animation. Alter your tone to suit the words on the page, make facial expressions to emphasise emotions, and use hand gestures to add life to the story.
  6. Don’t choose books that are heavy in dialogue. These kinds of books are often the most difficult to read aloud and listen to.
  7. Do finish a book once you start it. Don’t start a new book and leave your child wondering what happens. If you don’t finish a book in one reading session, try and leave off at a point in the story that will keep your child looking forward to what happens next.
  8. Don’t read books that your child will not be interested in. Try and choose books that they will look forward to reading.
  9. Do read your child’s favourite stories over again. Children learn sounds and words through repetition, so reading a story multiple times will help commit these to memory.
  10. Don’t impose thoughts, opinions, and interpretations of the book onto your child. Instead, ask questions and let them make their own mind up about a story.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn how to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!

4 Tips to Help Your Child Write a Book Review

November 28, 2013

4 Tips to Help Your Child Write a Book ReviewWriting a book review is something that children will be asked to do at school. It is a valuable exercise to increase their comprehension and develop their critical thinking skills. Some tips for writing a good book review include:

  1. Encourage note taking while reading – sticky notes and a pencil come in handy for making notes about important parts of a book. Taking notes as they read will help your child remember specific scenes or quotes they can reference in their review.
  2. Ask questions about the book – to help your child start thinking about the key points they can address in their review. Questions like ‘What genre does the book fit into? Fantasy? Humour?’ ‘Where does the book take place?’ ‘What was your favourite part of the book?’ ‘Who are the main characters? Does the author do a good job at describing them?’ ‘Did you enjoy reading the book?’ Make sure they have a good reason why they do or do not like a certain part of the book and can explain their reasons in their review.
  3. Structure the book review – include the book title and author, a brief summary of the plot, who the main characters are, comments on the books strengths and weaknesses, and your child’s personal opinion of the book, outlining why they did or did not enjoy reading it.
  4. Offer to proofread their review – check to see if there are any spelling mistakes and that the review makes sense. If corrections are needed, point them out but let your child have a go at correcting them before you help them.

Visit www.readingeggs.com.au to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!


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