If reading is an enjoyable part of daily life, your child is more likely to feel positive about reading. Here’s how you can make reading a part of life for both pre-school and school-aged children.
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How To Encourage Young Readers
The most important thing to keep in mind is that reading should be fun. Try these activities to stimulate an interesting in reading.
- Talk to your infant or young child. Talking with your child before they start to speak will help them to learn important language skills. Most kids need skills in spoken language if they’re going to develop as readers. Use short sentences to talk about your daily activities, what your child is seeing and doing, what’s around them, and so on.
- Read to your child every day. Your child will learn about the practice of reading when you read to and with them, and even very young children will learn new vocabulary. There are lots of benefits of reading aloud to your child. Run your index finger under the print as you read to them so they notice that the printed words have meaning.
- Sing songs and recite poems with repetitive sounds. Repetition will make it easier for your child to notice the patterns in the sounds that you make.
- Model good reading habits. Help your child to understand how important and fun reading is by letting them see you read. Suggest reading as an activity during free-time. Keep books that might interest your child in a place that is easy for them to reach.
- Visit your local library. While you’re there, sign your child up for preschool storytime and let them choose some books to take home.
How To Encourage School-Age Readers
When your child starts school, you should work with their teachers to improve their reading skills. A lot of teachers now sending home practical ideas for parents to use with school-age kids to help them to develop reading skills and to encourage good reading habits. Ask your child’s teacher if they have any practice activities like this. By building these skills that your child’s teacher emphasizes, you can supplement what they learn about reading at school.
Try these additional ways to encourage your school-age child to read.
- Continue being a good role model, and let your child see you read at home.
- Encourage your child to read on their own at home. Reading at home in their own time will help your child to better with reading at school.
- Keep a variety of reading materials in the house. Offering a range of options for both reference and for reading for fun will encourage your children to read on their own time.
- Encourage your child to practice reading aloud. Listen to your child reading out loud as often as you can, and offer lots of praise when they do. You could suggest reading together, by taking it in turns to read a page aloud. Talk about what you’re reading with your child as you go.
- Write short notes for your child read. Write down things like weekly chores for them to keep track of, or put fun notes in their lunch bag.
- Encourage activities that require reading. Things like cooking (reading a recipe), building a kite (reading instructions), or identifying a bird in the garden (reading a reference book) are all good examples of this.
- Establish a reading time. Put a good reading light in your child’s room and fill their shelves with books and magazines that are easy to read and reach at reading time, even if it’s only ten minutes a day.
- Talk to them. Talking makes children think about their experience and helps them to grow their vocabularies. Ask your child to tell you about events and to tell complete stories.
- Give them writing materials. Reading and writing go together. Children want to learn to write and to practice writing. Have pencils and paper available all the time so your child will be more likely to write on their own.
- Limit television time. The less time that your child spends in front of the television, the more time they will have for reading.
- Visit the library once a week. Get your child their own library card so they can check out books on their own, both for school or pleasure. Ask your child to bring home a library book to read to a younger sibling, or books on tape that you can listen to as a family on long car rides.