Kids can start developing good reading habits at home even before they learn to read. Here are eight simple tips to help raise a reader.
1. Make reading a daily habit.
You can start raising a reader from the day your child is born. Make reading a routine by sharing a book with your child before bedtime. Babies respond to the soothing rhythm of a voice reading aloud, as well as to being cuddled on a warm lap.
2. Read in front of your child.
Whether you love books, magazines, or graphic novels, let your child see you reading. Kids learn from what they observe. If you’re excited about reading, your child is likely to catch your enthusiasm.
3. Create a reading space.
Your reading space doesn’t have to be big or have a lot of bookshelves. It can be a corner of the couch or a chair in the room where your child sleeps. Picking a comfy spot that has enough light and room to keep a book or two can help your child connect reading with coziness and comfort.
4. Take trips to the library.
As your child gets older, the library is a great resource for exploring new books and authors for free. Many libraries also have story hours or other literacy programs for kids. Trips to the library give your child a chance to develop good reading habits and to see other kids doing the same.
5. Let your child pick what to read.
That trip to the library can be extra special when you give your child time to look around and explore. Kids are more likely to want to read something they pick out themselves. To help narrow down the choices, give your child a section of books to choose from.
6. Find reading moments in everyday life.
Reading isn’t just about sitting down with a good book. It’s a part of daily life, too. As you go through your day, help your child keep an eye out for “reading moments.” They may be as simple as reading road signs, grocery lists, or recipes.
7. Re-read favorite books.
You might get tired of reading the same story over and over again, but your child may love it. Kids like to spot things they missed the first time in the story or in the pictures. Re-reading also gives them a chance to connect the words on the page with the words they hear. Eventually, your child might even start reading the book to you.
8. Learn more about how kids read.
You may not be a teacher, but you are still your child’s first teacher. Knowing a little bit about what reading skills to expect at different ages can help you support your child’s reading.
Get more tips on how to help your child with reading at home.
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About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.