As a parent you want the best for your child, but sometimes it is hard to know just how to help. That’s where we come in. We have compiled a quick list of things you as a parent can do to help raise confident, happy readers.
- Practice together daily. Whether you read the newspaper at breakfast or cuddle up with a book at bedtime, reading together everyday is part of creating a healthy reading routine.
- Stop the baby talk. Don’t shy away from big words when talking to your kids. Every new word they hear helps improve their vocabularies and language skills.
- Monkey see, monkey do. Kids want to do what the grown-ups do. If they see you reading and talking excitedly about it, they will want to do the same.
- Read the signs. Next time you are on a walk or waiting in line play “i spy” with words. The world is full of words - signs, recipes, cereal boxes, instruction manuals, bus schedules, news, maps, menus and so on. Take advantage of it.
- Get a library card. Libraries are full of resources and picking a new book to borrow can create excitement around reading.
- Make your home book friendly. Fill the shelves with books, dedicate a shelf or basket for your kids to keep their own books and make a space just for library books. Don’t forget to make quiet, comfortable places to read throughout the house.
- Encourage reading for fun. Praise the efforts of a soon-to-be or beginning reader and make sure to praise older readers for finding time to read for fun.
- Ditch the phone games. Have a “to go” book that your child can bring with them when you run errands or are traveling. Keep them occupied with a book instead of a mind numbing phone app.
- Make reading a tradition. It could be a special birthday book, holiday favorites or even a regular family read aloud night. Whatever it is, make it special and have fun.
- Let kids choose books. Offer titles that explore your child’s interests, expand horizons and offer exposure to different kinds of writing. Show them there are books where they can see themselves and books where they can see the worlds of others.
- And the Oscar goes to… active readers! Use expressive voices for characters, make sound effects and point things out in the text and illustrations when you read aloud with your kids.
- Let them take it all in. Give your child time to absorb the story and look at the pictures as you read. Think aloud about what you are reading and looking at and encourage your child to do the same.
- Keep them actively engaged. Ask your child open ended questions like, “Guess what comes next?” Let them get involved and ask questions too. Remember - interruptions are allowed!
- Be smart with technology. Not all games or videos are bad. Connect kids with appropriate videos, apps or games that help them learn new words and interesting things about the world.
Bring a book to life. Link life experiences with books. If your child is reading about an underwater world, take them to an aquarium or fish store. If they are reading about space, look for a science museum. Seeing things they are reading about in real life connects the feeling of discovery to reading and can bring about a new understanding of a story.