Helping your child learn to read is one of the most important ways that you can support their education. Studies have shown that parental involvement is key to student success… no pressure right? These five tips will help engage your child in reading, helping them become a happy, confident reader.
The best way to foster a love of reading in your child is to lead by example. Children mimic your behaviour, so let them catch you in the act of reading for pleasure. Fill your home with books, magazines, and newspapers and let your children see the joy that reading brings to your life. If you reinforce a positive attitude around reading, your children will naturally gravitate to and enjoy reading!
Reading isn’t just about sitting down quietly to read a book. Your child’s world is filled with words. Wherever you go, you can always find something new to read – from cereal boxes to street signs and subways ads – words are everywhere. Make it a fun game for you and your child to find new words out in the wild; this is an excellent way to practice their skills and expand their vocabulary. You can make learning to read fun for your child by playing word and letter games and using screen time for game based reading programs like Ooka Island.
Comics, magazines, instructional booklets all count as reading. In fact, these types of texts develop a different, and often a more complex, set of skills than traditional texts! Reluctant readers may especially be more likely to give reading a chance if they can choose topics and reading materials that interest them.
Unless your child is very keen to read their homework books, try not to bring them into the bedtime reading routine rather, use bedtime as a time to relax and take pleasure from the joy of a good story. Bedtime may be the perfect opportunity to introduce your child to different genres since you will most likely be the reader.
Reading on a regular basis with your child provides wonderful bonding time. Use reading as an opportunity to connect with your child about what is happening in their life. For example, if you are preparing for kindergarten, read a book about starting school. Before starting to read, ask your child to look at the pictures and predict the theme of the story. As you are reading with them, ask them questions and gauge their comprehension. After finishing the book, talk about the characters and other ways the story could have ended. These are all easy ways to help your child connect to the story, keeping them engaged and excited about reading.
With time, consistent practice, and support, your child can learn to love reading.