Reading and talking - tips to get the most from these activities

Reading and talking - tips to get the most from these activities

When your child signs up for Komodo English, they are provided with a great way to reinforce and practise the literacy skills they have been learning in school. However, there are lots more things that parents and carers can do to improve literacy skills that fall outside of Komodo's curriculum. 

We’re parents too, and we know how little time there is to do everything you’d like to do with your kids. So, here's a little reminder of how to get the most out of two really useful things you'll be doing anyway.


It's a good idea to read to children from an early age, ideally on a daily basis. You can pick up a book to read at any time of the day, but it's a great thing to build into your child's bedtime routine as the habit will then carry through. Also, bedtime tends to be protected from the other stresses and strains of the typical hectic family life so this reading session is less likely to be squeezed out than if it was at a different time of day. 

Even when your primary school child starts to read independently and begins getting reading homework to do, it's a good idea to continue your reading sessions together. Not only is it a nice way to connect at the end of the day, but taking turns to read a page or paragraph aloud allows you to model expression and pronunciation, while letting your child practise their skills at the same time. 

Children who read for pleasure do better in a wide range of subjects at school, so when you're reading at bedtime let them pick something they really enjoy. If your child has no interest in books, you can try these ideas to foster a love of reading.    


It probably feels like you spend more than enough time talking to your kids, incessantly answering crazy questions and issuing instructions. As such, it's easy to underestimate how good talking is, not only for wellbeing but for building kids' vocabulary and literacy skills. Talking together is so much more than just chit chat when kids are at primary level - it's instrumental in exposing them to sentences and correct grammar, and helping them structure their ideas as a precursor to writing things down. 

Talk together about: 

  • the tv show you've just watched, or a book you're reading. Ask what they thought of a particular character's actions, or who their favourite character is and why.

  • the story of your day, and encourage them to do the same. Prompt them to put their thoughts in order, asking 'What did you do first? And then what did you do?' 

When you're talking, help kids get comfortable using different verb tenses by talking about things that they have done in the past and that they are going to do in the future. 

Encourage them to use more words when they describe something as a way of helping them to help them build their sentences. For example they might talk about a ball, but if you help them to describe it as a smooth, shiny red ball, it will help them with sentence formation and to develop a rich vocabulary. 

For older kids who start to grunt when you ask them questions, try a conversation when you're together in the car. There's something about talking in the car that allows kids to open up a little bit more - maybe because it's less intense to be beside (or behind) you, rather than face to face.

Keep in mind that you don't want your conversations with your kids to turn into schooling sessions, so rather than correcting mistakes, focus on modelling correct grammar and use of vocabulary. For example, when your child says "I seen Jenny behind the tree," just model the correct grammar by saying, "I saw Jenny behind the tree too," or "You saw Jenny behind the tree, did you?"

So although it might seem trivial, it's hard to overstate just how much talking and reading to children can be maximised to allow those all important literacy skills to grow and flourish. 

About Komodo - Komodo is a fun and effective way to boost primary maths and literacy skills. Designed for 5 to 11-year-olds to use at home, Komodo uses a 'little and often' approach to learning that fits into busy family life. Komodo helps users develop fluency and confidence in maths and English - without keeping them at the screen for long.

Find out more about Komodo and how it helps thousands of children each year do better at maths and literacy – you can even try Komodo for free. 

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