Simple Reading Strategies for Parents to Use at Home

There are so many simple reading strategies for parents to use at home that anyone can help their child become a more confident reader! These simple reading strategies will help you teach your child to read and gain confidence every time she interacts with a book.

Reading Independently and Confidently

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and ads, read our full disclosure here.


Self-Monitoring Strategies For Parents to Use at Home 

Your goal every day is to teach your child to become an independent and confident reader. You start this from day one when you ask them to point to the dog or cat in the book as they sit on your lap and listen to stories. You continue this as you celebrate the first time they put three sounds together to decode a word: c-a- t: cat. Yay! You develop these skills as you teach them self-monitoring strategies at home.

The way you interact with your child and books in the home is the foundation for their ongoing success with reading. Even if you do not plan to homeschool, you, as the parent, play a significant role in your child’s reading development. Keep scrolling for reading strategies you can use at home.

What Are Self-Monitoring Strategies?

Simply put, self-monitoring strategies are what independent readers do to help themselves make sense of new words and make meaning of the text they are reading.

One indication that your child is depending on you too much as they read is if he looks to you immediately when encountering a new word. I used to joke with my first graders that the word was not on my face! What I meant was I wanted them to look at the page for clues to help them decode new words.

The more confident your child becomes the less they will automatically look to you for the answers. As they learn new reading strategies their confidence will grow.

Typically I find that parents are on one end of the spectrum in this area: they either help too soon and do not allow time for the child to figure out the new word and use the strategies they have been shown, or they allow the child to struggle too long and become discouraged.

We want to balance these extremes and support when necessary but continue to teach self-monitoring strategies so your child will look to you less and less as he reads.

What Strategies Do Independent Readers Use?

Independent readers have learned that it’s their job to make sense of what they reading. They take ownership of their comprehension of a story and they take risks when it comes to decoding and trying new words.

Remember, beginning readers are taking risks every day and we need to celebrate every time they try and then point out the ways they are growing as readers. The more confident they become in their own ability to read new words and make meaning from what they read, the more risks they will take and the more confident they become – it’s a wonderful cycle!

Reading Strategies For Parents to Use at Home

As a parent, whenever you are reading with your child at home, begin to teach your child these reading strategies. It helps if you model them and explain them and then prompt your child when she is stuck to use the strategies you have been talking about.

Independent Readers Use the Following Strategies When Reading 

– Reread when they know they have not understood the text or to clarify what they’ve read

– Slow down to read new words or information that is unfamiliar

– Make mental images or visualize the story as they read

– Use background knowledge to connect to new material

– Ask questions as they read

– Connect new information to things they already know or have experienced

– Use context clues to make sense of new words

Reading Strategies for Parents to Use at Home 

– Reread sentences and paragraphs when reading together to show them that this is what good readers do to understand

– Set a purpose for each book or story and explain when the story is for fun or for learning new information and then explain how good readers slow down when they need to learn something new.

– Talk about what you read as you read and help your child visualize or make mental pictures:  “What do you think the boy looks like?” “How do you picture his grandma’s house?”

– Ask questions as you read–not quiz-like but thoughtful: “What do you think the boy is feeling now?” “Do you think the boy will regret his decision?” “Have you ever felt like the character in this story?”

– When presenting new information, take time to talk about something that your child already knows that relates. If your child knows about spiders and you are going to read about insects, first talk about how many legs a spider has and the name of the body parts. As your child reads, he can start to make comparisons and contrast information about spiders vs. insects.

– Teach your child to use all the words in a sentence to help decode new words. If they say “puddle” for “pedal” in the sentence: “The girl learned how to pedal her bike fast to win the race.” ask them if “puddle” makes sense in that sentence and with what else they know is going on in the story.

Download the Strategy Bookmark to help your child remember these strategies when reading.

reading strategies

Reading Strategies for Parents to Use

  1. If they make an error that impacts meaning, ask: “Does it make sense?” and “Try that again” This gives them time to think about what they are reading, go back and reread, and use the context clues around the word to try again.
  2. If they make a decoding error, ask: “Do the sounds your read match the letters and letter patterns?” or “Does it sound right?” If the word is able to be decoded using phonics, they should be able to try the word again and properly decode it. If they say “steps” for “stops” it is easy enough to ask them what short o says and to try that word again.
  3. If they make an error involving a sight word or a word they know, ask: “Does it look right?” or “Reread the sentence again and see if you can get it this time.” If it’s a sight word we cannot tell them to “sound it out” and pictures won’t make sense, but you can let them know it’s a sight word and to try to read it again with that bit of information.

Keep These Things in Mind When Reading with Your Child at Home

  • You will need to teach self-monitoring and model these strategies
  • Don’t let them rely on you for every new word
  • Build confidence and remove the fear of failure–encourage an atmosphere of risk-taking when reading
  • Use mistakes as an opportunity to teach
  • Always be positive!

If you consistently use these reading strategies at home and point out what strategy would be helpful for them as they read, over time your child will begin to use these strategies automatically and will look to you less and less. Guide, support, encourage, and celebrate all their attempts and successes!

Are you ready to ensure your child becomes a lifelong reader? Sign up for a FREE chapter and find out how easy it is to implement the strategies we show you in Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books. Or get started right away by ordering the book!

We’re here to help. Leave a comment or question below. ~Mary


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.