Children read for enjoyment and to learn and discover in the early years and throughout their schooling. The aim of reading is to understand, or comprehend, the book, article or website being read.
At school, children learn to read by:
- listening and responding to stories, poems, non-fiction books and websites read aloud by the teacher
- reading along with the teacher and classmates
- reading in small groups and individually with the teacher
- trying out and practising their emerging skills independently.
During early literacy learning, young children will develop some important reading skills and knowledge including the following:
- Books and websites are created by authors and illustrators for particular purposes.
- Printed words on the page have meaning and can be used to construct sentences, which can be combined into longer pieces of writing.
- Punctuation helps the reader make meaning of words and sentences.
- Pictures and illustrations also contribute to the meaning in imaginative and informative books, articles and websites.
- The reader’s experience of the world and other books helps them to understand what they read.
- Each reader responds differently to the things they read.
It is important to encourage reading at home.
- Visit your local library and let children choose picture books or non-fiction books to borrow.
- Snuggle up on the lounge and reread your child’s favourite books aloud to them. Introduce your child to books you loved as a child. Talk about and share your enjoyment and appreciation of the books you read together.
- Listen to an audiobook together (a good thing to do on a long car trip). Talk about your responses to the story.
- Give books as presents. Treat books as precious and special things.
- Visit second-hand bookshops and op shops to search for favourite or new titles or authors.
- Talk about favourite books, types of stories, authors and illustrators. Encourage your child to share their personal responses to books and the reasons for their likes and dislikes.
- Make sure you let your child see you reading things that interest you (books, newspapers, magazines but no phones!). Put aside a special time each day for the whole family to sit somewhere comfortable and read their own books together.
- Point out print around the home and in places you visit, such as street names, shop signs, food packaging and maps.