Author: Kathy Emmet, Mentor Teacher

Everyone knows that regular reading experiences at home are very important for a child’s reading development.  But how do parents become good coaches for their children?  Here is a list of DO’S and DON’T’S to get you started.


1. DO make reading time a pleasurable activity.  We parents want our children to be lifelong readers, and they will be if they learn to love reading.  So… pick a cozy place, a good time of day when your child is not too tired, and be sure to hand out lots of praise and encouragement.

2. DO talk to your child’s teacher about your child’s reading level.  She will help you in your choices of “good-fit” books.  To find a book that fits well, have your child read a page aloud.  If she has 3 or fewer challenging words per page, it’s a good level.

3. DO discuss the book as you read: before, after, in the middle…whenever!  Take the time to do some wondering, reflecting, making connections, predicting, and asking questions together.

4. DO use the child’s own writing as a great source of reading material.  What is more special than reading something you wrote yourself?

5. DO go to the library together regularly to get new books.  Also, try these reading websites to help you:,, and (click on “parents”).



1. DON’T wait too long if your child is stuck on a word.  Find out what word-solving strategies are taught in the classroom, and help him accordingly.

2.  DON’T keep going if the time is getting stressful.  Take a break, and return to it later.  Remember, the long-term goal is to form lifelong readers who find great pleasure in reading.

3. DON’T worry if your child only wants to read books from one author or theme or series.  Familiar characters and ideas help to give the child confidence to step out and take risks in reading.  He will move on to other things when he is ready.

4. DON’T forget to model reading for your children.  As they see you read, they will understand that reading is for a whole lifetime.  And you will enjoy the break too!

5. DON’T stop reading aloud to your child just because she has learned to read for herself!  Reading aloud together as a family is a great way to spend quality time together, and to make some great memories too.


We at New Covenant School, a Christian elementary school near Boston, are committed to helping our students learn to love reading and to do it thoughtfully and well.