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.
Use these strategies to help make reading familiar and fun for your preschooler. These tips can also help kids with learning and attention issues start to work on foundational skills needed to become good readers.
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.
Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.
Elizabeth Babbin, M.Ed., is the instructional support teacher at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
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