Helping with Reading


  • Always discuss what the text is about first from the title, pictures and context.
  • Check your mentee knows the key vocabulary they will need to understand the basic plot/idea.
  • Stop and check understanding through questions, ask what they like, can they predict what will happen, but keep the flow, don’t stop too often.
  • Remember you can use “formal talk” + “book gossip”.


  • Relate the text to life experiences.
  • Engage with it yourself – be angry, interested, shocked, disagree etc!
  • Always discuss what your mentee thinks at the end.


  • Let your mentee have a go at difficult words (but don’t dwell on it).
  • Help if they are stuck.
  • Don’t correct everything all the time – you can always go back.
  • Break down a word, cover up parts of the word to help this.
  • Share reading to keep the flow or take different parts if there are characters with lots of speech.
  • Check if the mentee needs help on word recognition, language comprehension or both!
  • Working out the meaning from the context: Cover up a difficult word and ask what word might be there when you re read the sentence without it. Ask checking questions like is it a bad or good word, positive or negative?


  • Skimming: Reading quickly to look for the gist of a text, for example by reading the first sentence of each paragraph.
  • Scanning: Reading quickly for specific information. This involves looking for key words, and requires the reader to know how types of text (for example, news articles) are structured.


Remember ANY type of reading helps so try to find topics or types of text that your mentee will engage with!

  • Non-fiction books- we have lots at L2L.
  • Websites, sports pages, news articles.
  • Poems, comic books, recipes.
  • Easy novels on topics they enjoy!
  • Always ask us about bilingual dictionaries.

Support our family

We are committed to building stronger communities and enabling people to challenge themselves and find ways out of isolation through our varied community projects. There are so many ways you can support our work and help us to deliver our services to even more people.

Stay in touch with our KLS newsletter

You are signing up to receive email newsletters from KLS. You can easily un-subscribe at anytime. For information about how we use your personal data and our commitment to protecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Policy.