5 Steps to Improve your Child’s Reading
Our children grow up in a world of constant distractions. It’s difficult, no frustrating, to determine the right amount of stimulation for children from electronic sources. TV, Xbox, Playstation, iPod, computers, oh my! As a parent, I am overwhelmed. With all these distractions, we should not be surprised that children are choosing to spend less time reading for the joy of reading, and more time on games.
How can we encourage our children to read more and help them become lifelong readers? The challenge is not easy, here are a some suggestions:
- Model reading for your child. Show your child you enjoy reading and spend time reading for pleasure. Share with your child something you have learned from a book or magazine you have recently read. You could read traditional printed books and electronic books.
- Encourage your child to read independently in small steps. Not all children will be ready to read long chapter books at the same age. Different ages, interests, gender, and maturity all affect your child’s desire to read independently. Try to nurture your child where they are, not where you or the school expects your child to be. Use your own instincts to determine if your child’s reading level is right, not preset standards.
- If your child is a reluctant reader, find interesting stories and read them aloud together. Reading aloud helps improve your child’s imagination. Reading together will also help your child process the larger themes in stories. You might even get to read a story or two you missed as a child.
- Celebrate the small improvements. Recognize when your child’s independent reading skills are improving. For example, my oldest child (in 4th grade) has always struggled with reading. This year, I have noticed he takes more ownership of his homework and will complete assignments with less parental guidance. He is able to read the questions and locate the answers by reading his textbook without my help. This independence is a huge step forward for him and as he continues to grow will help him in middle school and high school.
- Be patient with your child. If you continue to model good reading skills and encourage your child to read on their own, eventually your child will recognize the value and joy reading for themselves.
As parents who love to read, we want our children to be great readers from the start and read all the great books. Our job is to guide our children through the process and help improve their skills so that some day they will become the avid readers we know they can be.
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