Supporting New Readers -- Do’s, Don’ts & Activities


Reading is an incredibly complex cognitive task and it may be difficult to relate to your child’s challenges.  Consider something you have recently learned. A couple of years ago, I started to incorporate meditation into my morning routine.  I began by practicing weekly with an experienced teacher, made myself accountable to another student and was very motivated. Two years later, I’m proud to report that I’m now able to sit still with a relatively empty mind for approximately ten minutes most mornings.  Here are some tips to promote joy in your journey!

DO make reading with your child a time for closeness & connection.

DO show that you, as an adult, enjoy reading.

DO practice patience as your child builds stamina in small increments.


DO include your child in library trips and encourage them to check out books of their choice.

DO trust that your child will become a reader over time.

DO connect reading to your child’s interests -- cookbooks, Pokemon, directions for science experiments, board games, comic books and anything else that has words.

DO sing together (Bonus -- sheet music divides long words into syllables!)


DO sight word searches in books you are reading together.  

DO practice reading from books with predictable and familiar words.

DO focus on meaning rather than expecting 100% accuracy when your child is reading.  

DO take turns reading with your child - decide with your reader how often to switch.  In some classrooms, we call this time “Partner Reading,” a term coined by Gail Boushey.  You can learn more about this practice at

DON’T make reading a chore.

DON’T worry if your child isn’t reading fluently yet (like the neighbor’s kid or their cousin).

DON’T require your child to practice reading in the evening when they’re tired.

Writing is the Road to Reading

Label the Environment -- Give your child small slips of paper and tape and together write labels for objects   You help by providing correct spelling. Your child may be very excited to do the writing as this is something that is often done in primary classes.  Label items such as snacks, dirty clothes, library books, socks, shirts, PJs, wash clothes, towels, blocks, games, forks, spoons, etc... This also helps children be more independent at home and supports the organization of their belongings.

A variation on this can be found on this blog:

Writing Shopping Lists and Lunch Menus -- Your child can copy words from their favorite food packages to ensure the “right” kind of cereal or other items are purchased.  Of course, parents still have veto power!