1. Do not skip this time. A half hour every week does not begin to help as much as 10-15 minutes each day. The long-term effects of nightly reading homework are well established.
2. Choose the right time. Always try to find a time when your child will cooperate, when neither of you are pushing to just finish the homework. The best time might not be right after school as some play time may be needed first, and certainly just before bed is not opportune. Find a time that works for you and your family and make it a habit.
3. Sit side by side with your child. This is not the time to catch up on email or your Facebook feed. Children want to please adults, so try to be present for 10-15 minutes each evening for reading. If the assignment is to read silently, then sit by your child and read silently at the same time.
4. When they're learning how to read, allow your child to use all the resources of the book, including pictures. Beginning readers learn sight words, use left to right reading orientation, realize each word is separate, utilize the pictures, and to experience reading success. Books that say things such as, “I like the ball, I like the car, I like the bird” are only helping reinforce the words I and like. When appropriate, ask questions to help them figure out the words on their own.
5. Do not stop reading aloud to your child. Reading aloud to children should continue through all the way until middle school...and beyond. Why? Adults can read such a variety of stories and expose their children to a huge amount of vocabulary that children cannot access on their own. Children need to be reminded that reading is interesting.
6. Discuss what was read. Help your child understand what they're reading, not just saying the words.
Story Line Online - Books read to you
Star Fall - Reading support (subscription) and mobile app (free!)
PBS LearningMedia - PBS digital classroom
ABCya! - Educational games
Ben's Guide - Learn about the government