This toolkit helps parents and families understand the many different skills involved with teaching your child to learn to read and how to support your child's reading development at school and home.

You will learn:

  • How to tell if your child is getting high-quality reading instruction at school.
  • Questions to ask about the reading program in your child’s school.
  • How to tell if your child has reading difficulties and how you can help.

This toolkit includes:

  • An Online Tutorial
  • Research Briefs & Infographics
  • Tools & Resources
  • A Facilitator's Guide

Online Tutorial

In this tutorial, you will learn evidence-based information about your child’s reading development from preschool through adolescence, all in an interactive online experience. You can use the table of contents to learn about the skills needed to learn to read, how reading typically develops, why children might struggle to read, and signs of risk for reading difficulties.

Approximate tutorial length per topic: 30 minutes.

Supporting Materials

Download and print these infographics with ideas and questions to ask your child’s school linked to the tutorial.

Learning About Your Child’s Reading Development

Learning to read is difficult and does not happen naturally. It requires explicit and systematic instruction, which is especially important for struggling readers. Learning to read involves many different skills that must be taught to your child. Instruction in phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension will help your child learn to read.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading
Route to Reading: Map It Out

Questions to ask about your child's reading skills.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading

Questions to ask about your child's reading instruction at school.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading

Questions to ask about your child's assessments and instruction at school.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading
Route to Reading: Repair as Needed

Difficulties can be spotted early, ask these questions if you have concerns about your child's progress at school.

Audience: 
Parents & Families
Topic: 
Beginning Reading

Skills Needed to Learn to Read

Reading involves many different skills that must be taught to your child. Learning these skills does not come naturally. You can help your child read by practicing skills learned at school.


Big Ideas

  • Reading is a complex system of making meaning from print that requires many skills. Reading successfully involves both correct word reading (accuracy and fluency) and understanding material read (meaning).
  • Reading is not a natural process.  Children’s brains are not organized to read.
  • Reading takes practice to master, just like playing a sport or learning arithmetic.

Visit these Resources to Learn More

Learning to Read: “The Simple View of Reading”

Learning to read consists of developing skills in two areas: accurate, fluent reading and comprehending the meaning of texts. Learning these skills does not come naturally. Both accurate word reading and text comprehension require careful, systematic instruction.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Beginning Reading
Global Family Research Project

This infographic highlights seven ways that families help to promote early literacy and is available in English and Spanish.

Topic: Beginning Reading, Partnerships

Nemours

Although all children develop at their own pace, there are reading readiness skills that children commonly develop based on their age. Knowing what to look for not only helps you follow their development, it can alert you to any reading skills that may need extra attention.

Topic: Beginning Reading

Understood

Reading comprehension can be challenging for kids. Kids must master a number of key skills, like decoding, to fully understand what they're reading.

Topic: Beginning Reading

How Reading Typically Develops

Your child typically moves through several stages as they learn to read. You play a key role in their reading development at every stage. You are your child’s first teacher because you can lay the foundation for becoming a skilled reader right from the start.


Big Ideas

  • Parents and caregivers play an important role in supporting children’s reading. 
  • Learning to read, like in all learning, happens across time.  Children typically move through several stages as they learn to read. 
  • Understanding what is expected at different ages can help you notice when children’s skills are progressing appropriately or not.

Visit these Resources to Learn More

Partnership for Reading

This booklet describes activities that parents can do with their children to improve reading skills at specific ages from birth through Preschool.

Topic: Phonemic Awareness, Language Development

Partnership for Reading

This booklet describes activities that parents can do with their children to improve reading skills at specific ages from kindergarten through third grade.

Topic: Beginning Reading

National Institute for Literacy

This checklist is designed to help parents get children ready to read and to better understand literacy skill development for toddlers through grade 3.

Topic: Beginning Reading, Writing

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

This handbook describes ten reading practices for middle and high schools with strong evidence of effectiveness from high-quality research, including selected grade level descriptions of what students should know and be able to do.

Topic: Vocabulary, Comprehension, Writing

Why Children Might Struggle to Read

Sometimes it is just temporary, while other times it may point to a deeper learning issue. Parents and caregivers play an important role in supporting children’s literacy development, especially when children are having difficulty.


Big Ideas

  • All children with reading difficulties are not the same.  Because children may struggle to read for different reasons, children often have a specific profile of strengths and weakness in reading skills and strategies.
  • It is important to find out early if children are lagging behind so they don’t miss out on the kind of early reading instruction and practice that helps them become a successful reader later.

Visit these Resources to Learn More

Meadows Center

This document presents five ways that parents can help students of all ages develop important text-reading skills.

Topic: General Literacy

Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

This document presents five ways that parents can help students of all ages develop important text-reading skills.

Topic: Comprehension, Vocabulary

California MATRIX Parent Information and Resource Center

Read an information sheet that explains the steps a family can take when a child is struggling to read.

Topic: Dyslexia, Advocacy

Reading Rockets

This tip sheet shares real children's struggles with reading and provides tips for supporting them.

Topic: Interventions, Dyslexia, English Learners

Reading Rockets

This tool is designed to help parents understand the specific problems a child may be having with reading, including practical suggestions on what you (and kids themselves) can do to help students address their reading difficulties.

Topic: Beginning Reading, Dyslexia

Signs of Risk for Reading Difficulties

There are signs to look for in your child that may show a risk for reading difficulties later. You play an important role in your child’s education by sharing signs of risk in your child with others.


Big Ideas

  • Parents and caregivers play an important role in supporting children’s reading development, especially when children are having difficulty. 
  • Signs of risk for later reading difficulties are often noticeable very early when children have trouble learning key language and early literacy skills compared to their peers. 
  • If there are concerns that children’s language and/or reading difficulties are unexpected and unusual compared to their learning in other areas, seek further information early from the school and others about next steps.

Visit these Resources to Learn More

Dyslexia is a brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read.

Audience: 
Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Dyslexia
Understanding Dyslexia: Myth vs. Facts

Breaking down the truth about Dyslexia.

Audience: 
Parents & Families, Schools & Districts
Topic: 
Dyslexia
kids-reading.jpg

Child Find is a legal requirement that schools find all children who have disabilities and who may be entitled to special education services.

pexels-photo-261895.jpeg

Answers to commonly asked questions about eligibility for special education services, the evaluation process, and other related issues.

Facilitator's Guide

Mother and Child reading on iPad

The purpose of the facilitator guide is to provide information and materials to effectively facilitate the Learning about Your Child’s Reading Development at Home Tutorial in-person as a workshop series and enable participants to achieve the learning objectives.


Explore More Toolkits

Kids reading around a tress

This toolkit helps teachers and families understand what fluency is and how to support a child’s development of fluency with text.

Teacher and Class

This toolkit helps teachers and families understand the difference between phonemic and phonological awareness and how to support a child's development of these important reading skills.

Mother reading with child

This toolkit helps teachers and families understand what the alphabetic principle and phonics are and how to support a child's development of these important reading skills.