To become better at reading, a child needs to practise. For children with dyslexia, this can be off-putting as reading is already such a struggle. This is where ‘Paired Reading’ can help out and make practice something the children actually look forward to, all the while strengthening the muscles of reading so to speak.
What is Paired Reading?
Also known as Shared Reading or Partner Reading, Paired Reading has two steps. The first is reading aloud together, at the same time as your child. It is important to slow your speed down to match that of your child. If your child struggles with a word for more than 5 seconds, supply the word. Make sure your child repeats the word before you both carry on reading. In The Reading Academy programmes we ask children to point to words as they read them, and here is no different. Your child should point to each word during Paired Reading.
The second step in Paired reading is your child reading alone. You could agree on a signal together for when your child is ready for you to stop reading (this could be a thumb’s up, your child putting their hand on yours,etc). Whatever the signal, you don’t want your child to lose track of her/his reading, so it is important that you stop right away- this could be after one sentence, a paragraph, a page, or even a chapter. Remember it is a positive sign each time your child feels ready to read alone, so praise from you is important. If your child struggles for more than 5 seconds or if they get a word wrong, supply the word then join back in reading. Read together again until you get the next signal to stop.
Don’t forget this should be an enjoyable time for both you and your child. It is the perfect opportunity for you to choose a book together (it is important that your child is enthusiastic about the book choice). You might even steal a snuggle at bed time, just watch you don’t fall asleep!