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Supporting Your Child's Reading at Home

Supporting Your Child’s Reading at Home

First Grade: Recommendation 1: Developing Language

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

Talking While You Read

talking while you read

Having a conversation about a book will develop your child's vocabulary and 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.

The best books to use have detailed pictures and are about topics that are interesting to your child. You can use books from your home or borrow a book from your child's classroom library, school library, or the public library. Also, keep in mind that you can 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 phone's app store for free apps containing books for children.

To engage your child in conversation, you can use a tool called PEER: Prompt, Evaluate, Expand, and Repeat. See the Talking While You Read tri-fold and Bookmark for an example of how to use PEER.

Talking While You Read (The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin)

Key Points About the Video

  • Mom continually uses the word round to help her daughter build vocabulary.
  • Mom restates her daughter's answers in complete sentences to model oral language skills.
  • Mom uses the Talking While You Read Bookmark to remind herself of kinds of questions to ask

Talking While You Read Trifold
The Talking While You Read Trifold includes an overview of how to use PEER. There is also a story with questions placed where they are most helpful to prompt your child. Remember to read the story through one time first with your child. On the second read, use PEER as you ask each question.

Talking While You Read Bookmark
You can use the Talking While You Read Bookmark to engage your child in conversation while reading any book.

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. Speaking and listening to your child every day about books and his or her experiences 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 provide details. For example, if your child points to a butterfly and says, "Butterfly!" say, "Yes, that is a monarch butterfly! Aren't her colorful wings beautiful?"

Language Development in the Kitchen

Key Points About the Video

  • Children have fun baking brownies and planning to write a welcome note for new neighbors.
  • Mom fully involves children in reading the recipe, gathering the ingredients, and making brownies while talking about what they are doing.
  • Mom asks many questions and encourages both children to engage in the conversation.

Talking and Writing in the Kitchen
Use these questions, activities, and conversation starters to have fun while you talk and write in the kitchen.

Grocery Shop Talk
Use this resource to make a grocery list with your child. Ask your child questions and engage in conversations while you grocery shop together.

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