Reading With Your Child 2

How to Listen to My Child Read

by Panyaden School Head Teacher, Michel Thibeault

Michel Thibeault, Head Teacher (English) at bilingual Panyaden School Chiang Mai


img_9955 Panyaden School Chiang Mai teacher reading with child

  • Decoding versus reading
  • Short prompts are best
  • Corrections: respectful, constructive and adapted to his skill level


Parent listening to child talk about story he read, Panyaden School Chiang MaiDecoding is the hard skill that lays the foundation for actual reading. Students are decoding when they “sound out” the text, syllable by syllable, whether they understand the meaning or not. Reading will rely on global recognition of the words and the occasional decoding of unfamiliar words.

When listening to your child read, it is best to avoid praises that judge such as “you’re good”, “you’re so smart” etc. While this is nice to hear initially, it can also create unwanted stress when the reader has to do something he’s not so good at. It focuses on the result and neglects the effort. Instead say something like:

“Uh, huh! You’re doing it!”

“Keep reading! That’s it!”

“You read this easily!”

“Are you sure this is the right word? Look at it closely.”

“Take your time.”

“There you go!”

“You have the right first sound but look at the rest of word carefully.”

“You used another word other than the one written here but it makes sense! It shows you understand the story. Look at that word again though to see what the author really wrote.”

“What’s the first sound of that word? The second one? Say those sounds one after the other. Slowly. Now say them all faster, and faster! There you go! You did it!”

“Can you think of a word or movement that helps you remember that vowel sound?”

“What word would make sense that would start with these sounds?”

“Does it have a pattern that you have seen in other words? (eg. ex, ack)”

Praises that “describe” are more likely to encourage an “effort work ethic” where students feel good when they are working hard.

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