Creating a Culture of Reading in your Home | Ormiston College

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Creating a Culture of Reading in your Home

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We recently held the Creating a Culture of Reading Volunteer Workshop in the CLI and are happy to welcome a number of new parents to the volunteer program this year. This event always reminds me of the importance of involving our parents in their children’s learning and especially, in ways that they can encourage a love of reading at home.



Children need to develop the belief that reading for fun is important. A powerful predictor that a child will become a frequent reader, is having parents who are readers. (Scholastic, 2015)

Nobody could argue the importance of developing a child’s reading ability, but as parents we are often unsure of where or how to start. Hopefully, the following tips can support you in developing a reading culture in your household.

Tip 1: Read anything and everything!

From the day a child is born, sharing reading experiences should become part of the regular household routine. Many families will read a story to their child before bed and this is a wonderful bonding and modelling practice. Our children become familiar with the structure of stories very early and this assists in their learning. However, they should also have plenty of opportunities to experience a range of text types, including information reports, new articles, magazines, advertisements, posters, and the list goes on. So, fill your homes with words and read everything together!

But what about online texts?

Research shows that as a child moves through middle school and into the senior years, there will be a greater demand for them to engage in online texts. Although, it is important to point out that children read these texts differently and often scan for information. Both educators and parents should encourage children to read these texts for deep meaning. Our online tools, e.g. Reading Eggs and Education Perfect, contribute to our balanced reading program and support the progress of these online reading skills.



Tip 2: Reading out-loud each night.

A comprehensive school program includes the development of several skills essential to the reading process. This consists of oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. To achieve this, children participate in a wide range of activities with different texts, including sending home readers for you to enjoy as a family.

When assessing a child’s reading ability, we aim to identify both the instructional and independent reading level of the student. Home readers are then sent home at a child’s independent level. To help you identify a text appropriate for your child, use the five-finger rule. If in the first few sentences, five errors are made then the text is too difficult. By choosing an independent text, you can then focus on developing fluency, comprehension, and of course, enjoyment.

What if my child does not know a word?

Children are taught to use a number of decoding strategies. Here is a list of prompts you can use to encourage your child to use these strategies:

  • Look at the picture.
  • Work out the first sound.
  • Say, “What would make sense?”
  • Chunk it.
  • Reread the sentence.
  • Skip the word
  • Look at word families.
  • Tell them the word.

Remember do not fix every word! Our aim is to increase fluency, therefore, if the error does not affect the meaning, continue to let your child read.

Below are some techniques to use before, after and during reading:


  • Talk about the cover, title and pictures.
  • Predict Discuss what the book may be about, e.g. text type.


  • Encourage expression.
  • Discuss what has been read up to that point.
  • Encourage the use of decoding strategies.
  • Prompt students to make Inferences and Visualise.
  • Praise students Asking Questions, but do not answer them.


  • Ask questions to support comprehension strategies:
    • Summarise ("Tell me in a sentence what the text was about.")
    • Sequence ("Tell me in order the events of the text.")
    • Make Connections ("Tell me something from the text that relates to you.")
    • Author’s Purpose ("Why was this text written?")
    • Evaluate ("Did you enjoy the text? Why or why not?" "Do you agree with the ideas/opinions presented?")

Finally, nightly reading should take no longer than 20 minutes in the first few years of school. But don’t forget, as children become older and skilled enough to choose their own texts and read silently, reading out-loud, sharing and talking about books, continues to be an extremely important event as a family

Photos Copyright of Christopher Frederick Jones

Tip 3: Get involved!

Here are some more ways you can share reading experiences with your child:

  • Visit the CLI and share a book in the Library;
  • Use the Year Level Learning Intention page to familiarise yourself with the author or novel studies the class will be exploring;
  • Participate in the many reading events throughout the school year, e.g. Book Week, Pizza and Paperback Night, Book Swap, etc.;
  • Join our P & F Book Club;
  • Attend community reading events, e.g. Lifeline Bookfest 15 June – 23 June;
  • Donate a book;
  • Become one of our Reading Volunteers.
We look forward to seeing you throughout the year as we continue to share our love of reading with you!

Amanda Bowker
Dean of Teaching and Learning