Helping your Child to Read
Reading is one of the basic building blocks for your child’s learning and school success. It is a skill on which most other learning is built. Children who become good readers when they are young are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond.
The basic skills necessary for your child to become a good reader are acquired before your child ever starts school. For example, children become stronger readers if they start with a foundation of solid language and vocabulary skills. Since parents are their child’s first teacher, you can help teach them many skills related to later reading ability early in their life. But remember not to push too hard. Learning how to read doesn’t happen quickly -- it takes years. Be patient. It is very important that you make learning how to read fun – not work.
There are many things parents can do to prepare children to become good readers. The information on the following pages offers specific suggestions for what you can do to help your child start down the path of becoming a good reader.
Read to your child
Reading to children is the single most powerful thing parents can do at home to help their child become good readers.
• Read aloud to your child every day. Make it part of your daily routine. Good times to read to your child often include naptime, bath time, and bedtime.
• Make reading fun and enjoyable. Find a comfortable place to read. Have your child sit on your lap or next to you so they can see the printed words and pictures. When you are reading to your child read with a lot of enthusiasm and emotion. Children love it when talk in character voices and make sound effects.
• Start with picture books. Use books that have simple stories and have pictures that will hold your child’s attention. Ask your child to help you turn the pages. Read slowly. Use different voices for different characters in the story. Name items in the pictures. Have your child point to items in the picture (Can you point to the mouse?).
• Have your child help pick out books for you to read. Remember that you will get tired of reading the same book over and over long before your child does. It is good for children to hear the same book again and again. They will remember specific words and sentences and have fun saying them with you. Pause in places and have your child finish the sentence from memory.
• Help your child learn that reading goes from left to right and from top to bottom. Use your finger to follow the words as you read to your child.
Help your child understand what is read
Many children can read out loud well but they don’t understand what they are reading. Here are some things you can do to help your child better understand what they have read.
• Talk about stories you and/or your child have read. Have your child retell the story in his/her own words. Help them out in understanding the story when necessary.
• Ask your child questions about stories you and/or your child have read. It often helps to use “Wh” questions (Who, What, Where, and Why) about the stories. Ask what happened in the story. Ask who did what and why.
• Let your child see you reading books. Show him that reading is fun and important. Remember, if children see their parents watching a lot of television they will want to watch more television. If they see you reading they will want to read more. Check out books for yourself when you visit the library with your child.
Tame your child’s TV viewing and Hand-held Game playing
It’s not just the inappropriate things that children see on television that is of major concern. When children watch an excessive amount of television or play electronic games it takes away from time they can spend doing other more valuable activities such as playing, interacting with other children, and reading. It is important that early television habits do not interfere with your child becoming a good reader as they get older. Keep your child on track to becoming a reader?