Getting More from Reading with Your Child

Published March 1, 2006

Everybody knows reading to kids is a good thing. But there are some ways to make it more fun and productive. National literacy expert Steve Peha, president of Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc., offers these tips:

  • As your child begins to be able to read single words here and there, ask him how he knows what those words are. This will give you a window into your child’s early decoding strategies, as well as engaging him in thinking about how he knows what he knows.
  • Ask your child to predict what will happen next, but go beyond a simple guess to actually confirming the accuracy of the prediction when you both find out. Ask your child why she thinks a certain thing is going to happen, and connect what actually happens with what has happened before.
  • Teach your child how to begin making inferences by asking him how characters feel. Then help your child locate the text clues that are the basis for the inference. Use this language to get your child thinking in an organized way: “I think the character feels _______ because in the book it says _______.”
  • Help your child connect what happens in stories to her own life, and in other books as well. Ask questions like, “What does this remind you of?” or “Has this ever happened to you?” or “Is this like other books you’ve read?”
  • When your child expresses a preference for one book over another, find out why he feels the way he does. Try to get specific details about certain things your child responds to. Then use this information to help him shape his reading preferences and make better choices in the future.

For more information …

For more information, visit the Teaching That Makes Sense Web site at