Document image

There are lots of very good  books written in English that you can read with your child. When you read and  enjoy a book together, your child has another reason to learn English and it  makes English feel more real and important.

This is a sheet of helpful language (PDF, 200KB) from the video. Use it to help you do the activities with your child.

There are lots of books you can use in the OUP ELT catalogue – look at the Classic Tales series for traditional stories, and the Oxford Read and Discover series, for non-fiction books. You can listen to the books too. At the back of these books, there is a picture dictionary or glossary of useful words to help you and your child understand the book. There are some practice exercises too.

You can also use books that are written for English children. You will probably need to use books written for younger children but your child won't mind this. There are often English book sections in bookshops and, of course, you'll find many things to read on the internet.

reading with your child 2 On the OUP website there may be a section for your child's English course and you may be able to find interactive stories and eBooks there. There are also eBooks for English children on the OUP Oxford Owl site In both places, some books are read out. This is perfect if you are worried about your own pronunciation or you want your child to hear a native English speaker. Don't worry if you and your child don't understand every word, just try to get the idea of what the book is about.

The following ideas can be used with printed books and eBooks, with ELT books or with books for English children.

Get ready to read

To help prepare your child, you can look at the pictures on the cover and read out the title. Ask What's this? What's the book about? Ask your child what English words might be in the book. Before you read the book properly, you can look through it together quickly and see if any of the words they said are there.

Look for clues

Look for clues that your child can use to understand the book. Look at the pictures – what's this? What words do you know on this page? What is this word in our language? Explain that you don't need to understand every word to understand and enjoy a book.

Read the next word

Ask your child to follow the written words as you read out (or listen to) a book. Pause sometimes for your child to read the next word. Say When I stop, you read the next word.


Read the book out loud (or listen to it) and say, e.g. Clap when you hear the word 'weather'. You can choose one of the words your child thought would be in the book, or any other word that you can see is used a lot in the book.

Making sentences

This is a sheet of helpful language (PDF, 200KB) from the video. Use it to help you do the activities with your child.

Choose a sentence from the book that is easy to change a single word to make a new sentence (see the example below). Make word cards for the sentence – a card for each word. Mix up the cards and ask your child to put them in the right order.

Make word cards with some different words that can go in the sentence. Ask your child to swap one of the words in the sentence for one of the new words. For example:

Sentence: He's in the kitchen.
Different word cards: bedroom / living room / garden / bathroom / hall
Possible sentence: He's in the garden.
Extra challenge word cards: The / cat / is
Possible sentence: The cat is in the garage.

Look at the spellings

Read out or listen to a book. Stop after a sentence (or part of a long sentence). Ask your child to read out the same words. Tell them they must say the words the same way and not just read. Ask Do the words look like they sound? English spelling can be very difficult. Ask your child to write a list of words that look different to the way they sound.

Order the pictures

This is a fun way of seeing if your child understands a story. Draw some of the most important bits of a story on separate pieces of paper. Mix them up and give them to your child. Say Put the pictures in order. Your pictures don't need to be good but if you prefer, you can write the most important words or copy important sentences and do the same thing.

Go for a walk

Ask your child to tell and act out the story bit by bit. Every time they tell you a new bit of the story, they take a step forward. They think of something that happens at the start of the story and act out that bit. Then they take a step and do the same for the next part of the story. They walk like this through the whole story, step-by-step. They don't need to say whole sentences but can use important words and movement to show they understand the story.