Helping Your Child Learn to Read and Write


What can I do to help my child read?

  • Read to your child every day.
  • Encourage your child to read to you. (Even if he/she “reads “ the pictures). Encourage your child to bring books home from school.
  • Look at all the pictures first.
  • Make predictions about what will happen next.
  • After reading the story, discuss what happened.

What else should we read?

Reading is not just a bedtime story!

  • Cereal boxes
  • Store signs
  • Road signs
  • Bills
  • Grocery lists

How do I choose books to read?

  • Go to your public library.
  • Choose books with pictures to support the story.
  • Match your child’s (and your) interests.
  • For younger children– large print with only a few lines on a page.

STOP! and use the 5 finger rule when you choose a book!

Read a page in the middle of the book. Put up one finger for every “clunk” you have.

  • 0 fingers- too easy
  •  1-3 fingers-just right!
  • 4-5 fingers- quite hard
  • 5+ fingers- too hard for now

My child seems to memorize the words. Is that Okay?

☺ Memorizing is a natural part of a child’s early reading development.

☺ Memorize nursery rhymes.

☺ Repeat phrases and match print to words.

☺ Memorizing builds fluency and helps reading

Should my child use his/her finger to point to the words?

  • Pointing to words (tracking) is one of the first strategies that we teach.
  • This helps a child look at the words and focus on the sounds and letters.
  • Even adults will sometimes “finger point” when the text gets harder.
  • Eventually (usually by second grade) your child will learn to “point” with his eyes or to use a bookmark.

Should I cover up the pictures? No! Looking at pictures is a strategy that good readers use. Pictures are a clue!

What do I do when my child doesn’t know a word?

  • Have your child look at the pictures for clues.
  • Check the first letter, say the sound, and make a guess. What about ending sounds?
  • Ask the child to see if the “guess” makes sense, looks right and sounds right.
  • Re-read and make another attempt.
  • If your child tries and still struggles after 5 seconds – tell him/her the

How will writing help my child learn to read?

  • Reading and writing are linked processes.
  • Often the first thing your child reads is his own writing.
  • Print sends a message.
  • Build words out of letter tiles. (Making Words)
  • Write at home – grocery lists, notes to you, letters to relatives, pictures with labels
  • Make writing materials available –pens, crayons, envelopes, old stationary, cards

What else?

  •  Have your child say the word slowly “stretching it out.” You may need to exaggerate the sounds early on.
  • Have your child write down the sounds that they hear. Accept inventive spelling in early grades.
  • Make sure all Word Wall Words are spelled correctly.
  • Your child’s reading/writing vocabulary grows from practice.

Does writing always need to be done on paper?

  • Practice writing letters in shaving cream.
  • Write in the air.
  • Keep a journal or a diary.
  • Writing opportunities are everywhere!


  • Reading should always be fun!
  • Read lower level or easier books at home.
  • A reader is like an athlete….the more you practice, the better you get!
  • Praise your child’s efforts! “Mistakes” are building blocks to learning!
  • Enjoy reading and writing with your child….make memories.


Jeannette Mulholland, Reading Specialist, Jefferson County Schools

Read to Your Bunny, by Rosemary Wells

Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read, by Bernice E. Cullinan

When a Child Reads, by Denise Worthington

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2018 West Corporation. All rights reserved.