By Amanda Morin
Your child can start developing good reading habits at home before he even learns to read. Here are some simple tips to help you raise a reader.
From the day your newborn comes home from the hospital, you can start raising a reader. Young babies respond to the soothing rhythm of a voice reading aloud, as well as to being cuddled on a warm lap. If you make reading to your child part of your daily routine, he’s likely to grow up looking forward to it.
Whether you love books, magazines or blogs, let your child see you reading. Kids learn from what they observe. If he sees that you’re excited about reading, your child is likely to catch your enthusiasm, too.
Your reading space doesn’t have to be big or have a lot of bookshelves. It can even be a corner of the couch or a chair in your child’s room. Picking out a comfy spot that has good lighting and room to keep a book or two can help your child learn to connect coziness and comfort with reading.
The library is a great place to explore new books and authors for free. Many libraries also have story hours or other literacy programs for kids. These give your child a chance to develop good reading habits and to see other kids doing the same thing.
That trip to the library can be extra special when you give your child time to look around and see what catches his interest. He’s more likely to want to read something he picked out himself. If you’re concerned about him finding the right reading level or a suitable topic, just give him a section of books to choose from.
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.
You may get tired of reading the same story over and over again. But it can help your child become a reader. Kids like to spot things they may have missed the first time in the story or pictures of their favorite books. Rereading also gives them a chance to connect the words they see on the page with the words they hear. Eventually, your child may start reading the book to you!
You may not be a teacher, but you are your child’s first teacher. Knowing a little bit about what reading skills to expect at different ages can be helpful. You’ll be able to support your child’s reading with suitable books. It will also help you know if he’s not on track. Then you can speak with your child’s doctor about early intervention.
Reading can become an even bigger battle in middle school, especially for kids with learning and attention issues. Your child may need more encouragement than ever. Use these strategies to motivate her to read more.
If your teen struggles with reading, getting her to sit down and actually do it can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be a battle. Use these strategies to encourage her to read more.
A parent advocate and former teacher, Amanda Morin is the proud mom of kids with learning and attention issues and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.
Elizabeth Babbin, M.Ed.
Apr 02, 2014
Apr 02, 2014
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@Jenniffer2: Here's a great overview of how you can begin talking to your child about letters, words, and reading in general: Video: Introducing Your Preschooler to Reading. And our Encouraging Reading & Writing guide has even more ideas. Good luck!
If you want children to read (and have fun doing it), just buy them an adventure or video game.
Text adventure games, visual novels, choose-your-own-adventure gamebooks etc. have copious quantities of reading. Just don’t make them do too much sports. Especially rough contact sports. That’s very likely to result in concussion and brain damage.
It’s good to teach your child the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. Once you have this concretized you can move on to simple word families such as ‘at’ and ‘an’. You can do games such as having your child try to add different letters before the word family to form different words such as cat, mat, sat, etc.
Also have your child match pictures to words. You can also use advice from this book http://bit.ly/1MJH0Au when doing this. It is also good to teach your child high frequency words, model reading, and also read with your child.
How do I teach my 4 year old to read or identify words? My 4 year old is starting to ask me what random words start with. I have known for awhile that it was time to move forward with “reading”, but didn’t have a clue how to proceed.
Thanks for commenting, Ronaron. From what I can tell, there's no research to back up the effectiveness of that particular program. But it includes many elements that are effective. And you are correct that different kids embrace reading at different times and some never really read novels for pleasure. It's still important to keep trying for good skill development so they can read if they have to or want to. The tips in this piece also support strong language development. It's great to be practical, but optimism is critical to successful education. There's lots to explore here at Understood, and you will find a lot to try, so keep trying. In my 20 years as an educator, I have never seen a child who didn't benefit from continued support and determination from his parent.
I did all these things and more. If they are not going to read, they are not going to read. Plain and simple. Don't beat yourself up about it. Eventually they may pick up a book. Some kids are just not readers as are some adults.
Also, I bought a reading program based on this article (reviewsaholic.com/children-learning-reading-review-reading-program), I know it's late to ask but do you think such programs work?
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