Einschreibung Kontakt

Raising Readers

Kindergarten Primarschule Zweisprachigkeit SIS Pfäffikon-Schwyz

One of the most frequently asked questions by parents during parent-teacher conferences is, “How can I support my child?”

Many of our parents are willing to do as much as possible to help their children succeed in school and they often request specific work they can do at home to help make this happen. In the end, however, it comes down to the child’s ability to meet the expectations outlined during their education. With this being said, how can parents support their child throughout their learning journey?

One of the most common answers I give (and recommend our teachers to give) is to ensure that their children read each night. READ, READ, READ. The reason I give this answer is because the one activity of reading can improve so many aspects of academics. For example, reading can improve a student’s vocabulary and command of a language. Reading can improve a student’s sentence structure in writing by being exposed to a variety of different sentence starters. Reading non-fiction can improve a student’s knowledge of a certain topic or subject. The visualisation required to read books without pictures can heighten a student’s imaginative ability. Reading longer books can increase stamina and perseverance. Certain situations that occur in a book can lead students to reflect, analyse and evaluate. The list goes on and on; reading can truly impact the way in which children learn to think.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go. Dr. Seuss

To support this suggestion to parents, we use the SIS reading diary and reading bag as tools to unite our efforts to develop literacy in our kindergarten and primary school children. Books are sent home in the reading bag by the teacher with a little book (reading diary) to record the pages or books that the child reads. We also provide a list of questions that parents can ask younger students during this activity to promote literacy skills such as predicting and decoding. The list also includes examples of statements of praise that should be used to motivate and encourage students to read.


While this provides a structure for parents to support their children in developing early literacy skills and enhancing them as they grow older, my message to parents in upper primary school is always to model good reading behaviour for their children. The more children see us read, the more they will mimic this behaviour. Regardless of the amount of reading that is being done on the phone, I encourage parents to engage in reading paper books and magazines so their children learn to do the same.


Beyond modelling the behaviour of reading, I also encourage parents of students in upper primary school to read the same books as their children and have discussions about topics that occurred or were addressed in the book. As adults, some of us participate in book clubs where we do exactly that – read a book in common and discuss the critical issues that arise throughout it. In upper primary school, we are doing a very similar activity in our reading groups. We read a part of the book and then discuss the underlying themes. Additionally, some of the best books I have read are young adult books, so there is no need to worry about being uninterested or bored.


In essence, a great way for parents to support their children at home is by encouraging them to become literate, critical thinkers. And, as with any activity, the best way to make this happen is to model and make time for a lot of practice.



Andrea Oettinger, Head of Kindergarten/Primary and Kindergarten Teacher, SIS Pfäffikon-Schwyz