Improve Reading Skills

Use these tips at home to reinforce the skills your child learns at school.

• Play word games.

Dedicate each week to mastering a specific word sound. For instance, find 10 things in your house that contain the "kuh" sound -- his coat, backpack, or clock.

• Review the ideas.

When reading with a child, stop every few pages to ask what she thinks might happen next. Asking pertinent questions when reading encourages her to pay close attention and helps her put all the pieces together.

• Build vocabulary.

Talk with your child about anything that interests him, and use a mature vocabulary. The richer the verbal environment, the less likely he will be stumped by unfamiliar words in required reading.

• Know the assignment.

Before reading, the child should understand the purpose of the task that follows. For instance, if the task is writing a book report , identify the type of report and suggest note-keeping as he reads. Don't leave the gathering of information until the end of a long reading assignment.

• Use alternate formats.

Allow your child to follow along with books on tape or let her substitute alternate chapters from a novel with CliffsNotes or other abridged material.