Reading is one of the most fundamental skills your child can learn to develop, and naturally as parents we are concerned about doing everything we can to help our children learn how to read. Below are some handy tips you can use to help improve your child’s reading skills.
1. Read to your child on a daily basis.
This is perhaps the most important step you can take to help boost your child’s reading skills. Kids learn a great deal about reading just by listening to a parent read a story to them. As you’re sharing an engaging children’s book with your child, they will pick up on various nuances of language including syntax, inflection, etc., and it will expose them to new words that they can add to their ever-growing vocabulary. For many households, the best time to do this is in the evening right before bedtime, but you can choose whatever time frame will be most sensible for your schedule; the important thing is to make sure that you’re reading to your child on a daily basis.
2. Allow your child to interact with what you’re reading to them.
While standing or sitting near your child’s bedside and reading from a children’s book is good, it is far more effective to get your child actively involved in the reading process by allowing him/her to see the words on the page as you’re reading them. The best way to do this is to have your child sit on your lap or right beside you, so that both of you can see and read the book together. This will create important connections in their mind regarding which words produce which sounds, and how sentence structure should be read and understood. Add a tactile element to it by placing your child’s finger on the actual words on the page as you read them. For larger words, take your time and emphasize each syllable, having your child repeat them back to you as you view the word together.
3. Make reading fun by choosing engaging books.
Most children’s books are designed to be engaging, but if we’re being honest, there are some that are far more fun and entertaining to read than others. Go for books that feature vibrant colors, easy-to-read text and stories that will capture your child’s imagination. Dr. Seuss’s books definitely fall into this category.
4. Use your everyday environment to teach reading skills.
As you’re out and about with your child, use every opportunity you can to further their reading skills by pointing out various words that they might see in their everyday environment–e.g., stop signs, billboards, magazine covers, etc. When you’re walking into Walmart, just draw your child’s attention to the sign on the building and have your child repeat “Walmart” with you. Whenever you pull up to a stop sign, point it out and have your child say “Stop!” with you. When your child can see these words being used within the context of daily life, it will reinforce important concepts of usage and meaning.
5. Visit the library on a regular basis.
Making regular trips to the library is one of the best ways to show your child that reading is a priority in your household. Allow your child to choose a few of the books all on their own, as this will usually make them more interested in reading them right off the bat. As they’re digging into their new finds, ask them questions about the stories. This will help them improve their reading comprehension skills, which is a vital element of reading as well.
It has often been said that one of the greatest gifts you can give a human being is literacy. Use the tips above to give your child this all-important gift, so that they can develop a lifelong love of reading.