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Supporting Your Child's Reading at Home
Recommendation 1: Developing Language

Expose your child to the formal language that is common in books and in school.

Talking While You Read

talking while you read

Having a conversation about a book will develop your child's vocabulary and build knowledge about the topic of that book. Whether you are reading a fairy tale, a picture book, an informational book, or any other text, you can engage in a discussion as you enjoy reading together.

It is best to choose books about topics which are interesting to your child. You can read books from your home or borrow a book from your child's classroom library, school library, or the public library. You can also access books on laptop computers, tablets, digital reading devices, and smartphones. Websites such as Project Gutenberg provide free access to books and mobile formats especially for smartphones. Don't forget to look through your smartphone's app store for free apps containing books for children.

Supporting Oral Language and Vocabulary Development


Oral language is the way we communicate with others through speaking and listening. Vocabulary knowledge is a crucial part of oral language and includes understanding the meaning of words, how to use them, and how to pronounce them.

Oral language practice will help your child expand his or her vocabulary. Children with strong oral language skills and larger vocabularies typically become better readers. The best ways to give your child a strong foundation for learning to read are to read to, talk to, and listen to your child every day. Talk about people you know, places you go, and experiences you have together. Writing with your child also helps with oral language development.

  • Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer. For example, instead of asking, "Did you have a good day?" ask, "What was your favorite part of school today?" Continue to ask questions about your child's response. If the answer was "Recess," ask, "Who did you play with?" "What did you do?" "How do you play that game?"
  • When you speak with your child, model speaking in complete sentences and providing details. Use the words your child says and expand on them. For example, if your child points to a car and says, "Yellow car!" say, "That is a bright yellow car that is moving quickly! Where do you think that person is going?"