Updated: Jan 12
Reading is one of the most important skills for children to learn. Reading crosses over into all other academic subjects. Knowing how to read (and comprehend) can lead to success in school.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage over children who are not. The NCES also reported that children who were read to frequently are also more likely to:
Count to 20, or higher than those who were not (60% vs. 44%)
Write their own names (54% vs. 40%)
Read or pretend to read (77% vs. 57%)
Parents can help their children learn to read by reading together regularly. Here are some other methods to use when reading with your child:
PREPARE FOR READING
Before your child begins to read, make sure he has the basics mastered. Introduce a variety of books, subjects, and genres to your child. Make sure she can hold a book and turn the pages. As you read, use your finger to guide from left to right. Your child will pick up on these cues and begin to follow along.
Avoid comparing your child with other children. Each child develops at their own pace. Learning should be enjoyable. Being compared and pushed to perform above a level that your child is ready for can be a blow to a child's self-esteem.
BE AN EXAMPLE
Let your child see you reading. Designate a specific time for reading. You can use this time to read to your child or you can provide picture books with simple words for your child to read alone.
RETELL THE STORY
After reading, discuss the story. Talk about characters, setting, and events. Ask your child open-ended questions that encourage thought. Questions like "What was your favorite part" and "Who was your favorite character" are great for getting to know what your child thinks. You can use that information to help you choose more books that your child might enjoy.
CREATE A READING AREA
Keep a supply of pencils, crayons, scissors, paper, and other tools your child can use to draw pictures and make their own stories. This area could also include a few magazines your child could read and cut. Let your child help create the area so he takes ownership and pride in it.
READ FAVES MORE THAN ONCE
When you find books your child enjoys, read them over and over again. Memorizing a book and being able to predict what's next in the story helps build confidence.
CHOOSE BOOKS AT THE APPROPRIATE READING LEVEL
Give your child varying levels of books to use. He should have books he can read on his own and books that offer a little challenge. Be available to help your child when he is working on the challenging books.
MAKE IT FUN
There are a lot of ways to extend books into other fun activities.
Read books based on movies. When you're done with the book, watch the movie.
Look at the cover of the book and read the summary. Have your child draw a picture of what he thinks might happen in the story
After reading a story, have your child draw a picture of his favorite part of the book.
Find recipes that complement the stories you read and create a fun snack to go along with your book.
Learning to read can be a challenging journey for some children, but as long as parents are there to support them and advocate for them, children are bound to find success.