Principal’s tips for students’ success

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Year one students preparing to launch a drone at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School. PHOTO: Alphonsus Fok

By Steve Lemos

What is the best thing you can do with your child every day? If you had just 10 minutes to spend with your child every day what would you do? What would give you the best bang for your buck? An activity that would allow you both to interact, have fun, talk, discuss, challenge, support and create memories for ever?

Reading.

Yes, reading is the very best thing you can do with your child each day. Here are 10 reasons why:

  1. Reading is fun! Do we need the other 9?
  2. Reading is something you can interact together equally
  3. Reading builds your vocabulary
  4. Reading allows you access new information
  5. Reading helps us tell and share stories
  6. Reading teaches us and show us how to do things properly
  7. Reading helps us communicate with other people
  8. Reading poems and stories can be motivational and inspirational
  9. Reading helps us to function in our society
  10. Reading helps to keep us safe with directions and road signs

So when you are reading with your child at home what should you do to help your child read? Teachers in classrooms engage children in guided reading individually or in small groups.

They match each child to a text by completing a running record and then read with each child prompting them when they make a mistake. They use questions as prompts saying, “Does that sound right?”, Does it look right? And “Does that make sense?” Teachers are trained with over one hundred prompts to make sure each child is using all the cueing systems to ensure that their attempts look right, sound right and make sense.

Parent readingTeachers never ask a child to SOUND OUT the word! They prompt each child to use the cueing systems and reading strategies to solve the mystery of each unfamiliar word.

But you are not a trained teacher so what can you do? Why not use the PPP Method we teach parent helpers to use in class. The Pause, Prompt, Praise (PPP) method is a great way to support your child’s reading.

Related story: A reading list for Catholic teens and young adults

When your child hesitates, appeals to you or makes an error you must PAUSE! Give them a chance to think and have a go. At least 3 or 4 seconds.

If they still don’t have a go or if they get the word wrong You PROMPT – give them a clue. You might remind them about what they have read or tell them ‘it’s an animal’ or tell them the initial sound. But DON’T tell them to sound it out. If they still can’t get it, don’t dwell, tell them the word and keep reading.

The final P is to PRAISE them for any effort they made to say the word.

Happy reading! It’s the very best thing you can do with your children each day.

Steve is the principal of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Primary School, Waterloo.