What are some ways to encourage young readers?
The most important thing to remember is that reading should be an enjoyable experience. The following activities can help you stimulate your child’s interest in reading.
- Talk with your infant or young child before he learns to readTalking with your child before he even speaks will help him learn important language skills. Most children need strong oral language skills if they are to develop as readers and writers. Using short, simple sentences, you can talk about your daily activities, what he is seeing and doing, his environment, sizes of objects, the shapes of signs, and so forth.
- Read to and with your child at least 30 minutes each dayYour child will gain awareness of the conventions of reading (left to right, top to bottom), and even the very young will gain vocabulary. Running your index finger under the print as you read will help your child notice that printed words have meaning. Gradually you can ask her to identify letters and sounds.
- Sing songs and recite poems and rhymes that have repetitive soundsRepetition makes it easier for your child to pick up on the patterns in the sounds you make.
- Make sure your child’s day care provider, nursery school teacher, or preschool teacher reads aloud daily and offers books for your child to look at
- Model good reading habitsHelp your child understand that reading is important by letting him see you reading maps, books, recipes, and directions. Suggest reading as a free-time activity. Keep books that are of interest to your child in an easy place for him to reach.
- Visit your local libraryWhile you’re there you can sign your child up for preschool story time and let her choose some books to take home.
What are some ways to encourage school-age readers?
Once your child begins nursery school, preschool, or elementary school, you should work with her teacher to improve her reading skills. Many teachers are now sending home practical ideas for parents to use with their school-age children to help them develop skills and to encourage good reading habits. Ask your child’s teacher for these practice activities. By reinforcing the skills your child’s teacher emphasizes, you will be supplementing what he has learned about reading throughout the school day.
Additional ways to encourage your school-age child to read are listed below.
- Continue being a good role mode – Let your child see you read.
- Encourage your child to read on her own at home – Reading at home can help your child do better in school.
- Keep a variety of reading materials in the house – Make sure to have reading materials for enjoyment as well as for reference.
- Encourage your child to practice reading aloud – Frequently listen to your child read out loud and praise her often as she does so. Offer to read every other page or even every other chapter to your child. Have conversations and discussions about the book with your child.
- Write short notes for your child to read -Write down his weekly household responsibilities for him to keep track of or put a note in his lunch bag.
- Encourage activities that require reading Cooking (reading a recipe), constructing a kite (reading directions), or identifying a bird’s nest or a shell at the beach (reading a reference book) are some examples.
- Establish a reading time, even if it’s only 10 minutes each dayMake sure there is a good reading light in your child’s room and stock her bookshelves with books and magazines that are easy to both read and reach.
- Talk with your childTalking makes children think about their experiences more and helps them expand their vocabularies. Ask your child to give detailed descriptions of events and to tell complete stories.
- Give your child writing materials Reading and writing go hand in hand. Children want to learn to write and to practice writing. If you make pencils, crayons, and paper available at all times, your child will be more inclined to initiate writing activities on his own.
- Restrict television time – The less time your child spends watching television, the more time he will have for reading-related activities.
- Visit the library once a week – Have your child apply for her own library card so she can check out books on her own for schoolwork and for pleasure reading. Ask your child to bring home a library book to read to a younger sibling and encourage her to check out books on tape that she can listen to on long car trips.
- Work in partnership with your child’s school – The more you know about the type of reading program his school follows, the more you can help by supplementing the program at home. Offer to volunteer in the classroom or school library as often as your schedule allows. Ask the school for parent participation materials.
We love to read at St Clare’s!
Oxford Owl Reading has 250 free eBooks for you to share with your child as well as simple ideas, top tips, activities and games to help your child with their reading at home.
You’ll also find advice from educational experts on many areas including phonics, motivating boys and how to help a child who is struggling with their reading.
Helping your child to learn to read and learn to love reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give them!
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