Learning how to read is probably the most valuable skill that your child will ever learn. Not only should reading be fun and fulfilling, it’s the basis of how we learn just about everything else in life.
Trouble is, that today there is so much competition for your time and your child’s time. Athletics, music lessons, civic and church responsibilities, other school lessons, and work all create barriers to finding a moment to enjoy reading.
You can carve out some valuable time by insisting on less computer play (gaming) and TV. You can get children to read more by getting them to watch less TV. Consider a month-long moratorium of no television or, at least, cut out cable for a while. Nothing brings us to our senses more than zero TV time.
Other great ideas for creating dedicated reading machines at home include:
Table Talk. Make it a habit to talk over dinner about the books that family members are reading. Not only is this an enjoyable, unifying activity, discussions help improve reading comprehension.
Book Club. Consider starting a mother/daughter or mother/son book club with friends and neighbors this summer. Keep the group on the small side so that everyone gets an opportunity to participate.
Model It. Too often a child’s only exposure to reading is through school assigned novels and textbooks. It that’s the case, they may begin to see reading as a chore instead of a time to relax and escape. Your children need to see you actively and joyfully engaged in reading too.
Act Out. A reader's theatre is a dramatic enactment of text. Costumes are not needed, however, your children may want to use facial expressions, strong voice inflection, and small actions as they read from the scripts. Click here for a some reader’s theater scripts from TeacherPro.
Award Winning. Finding the best books for your child to read can be a challenge. Get referrals from trusted sources and look for award winning literature. There are two famous awards for children's literature made each year by the American Library Association that are good indicators of quality work: the Caldecott Medal for illustration and the Newberry Medal for writing. But these are given to only two of the approximately 2,500 new children's books published each year.
Journal Keepers. Writing is a great way to help your young reader with their encoding and vocabulary skills. However, staring at a blank page can be quite daunting for anyone. Try to encourage writing by given your child a question a day that they can write down and answer in their journal.
Happy Readers. It’s a natural conclusion that children will resist reading if they cannot do it well. For example, if you are a fantastic juggler, you will enjoy juggling often. If you’ve spent many hours trying to learn but just can’t seem to get it, you’ll avoid juggling at all costs. After all who wants to embarrass themselves?
Children will read more if they know that they read well. Teach them how to read without spending thousands of dollars on tutors. Give your children what they are missing - the fundamental reading strategies and skills they need to read with ease and confidence.
In the end, it’s never a good idea to force children to read. Too much pressure will result in a reading aversion. Try not to make reading seem like a chore. Instead make certain that they know how to read – using the 42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills. After that, it’s simply a matter of making reading fun and approachable. Now you too can create your own reading fun at home!