One of the most fundamental ways to help children succeed in school and in life is to help them become strong readers. Here are several simple and fun ways parents can help promote a love of literacy in the home that will last a lifetime.
1. Say okay to comic books and graphic novels.
They are another interesting medium to diversify your child’s reading.
2. Let your child read on screens, but also encourage them to read traditional books.
Reading devices are another way to get your child interested in reading, but research suggests that reading along to interactive screens takes away the important work a child’s imagination does when they are hearing or reading a conventional book.
3. Listen to books on tape in the car.
Precious time gets used up chauffeuring kids to school and activities. Use this time to read, either by keeping books next to children in the car or listening to books on tape.
4. When life is uncertain, read a calming book.
If your child is anxious about a life change or upcoming challenge, read a book about a similar situation. Some examples: a new baby coming home, going into the hospital, moving away, or feeling different at school.
5. Visit your child’s favorite author’s website.
Find out how the author’s books came to life.
6. Ask your child’s opinions about books.
Does he or she like the story? What problem does the character need to solve? What would your child do if he or she were in the main character’s shoes?
7. Tickle a funny bone.
From Peggy Parish’s Amelia Bedelia to Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine or Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a funny story is a good way to hook a book lover.
8. Give reading rewards.
When your child reaches a goal or moves on to a new reading level, reward them with something simple like a sweet treat or new book. Even better, let them stay up a little later one night to read.
9. Don’t stop reading aloud too early.
In The Read Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition, Jim Trelease points out that according to experts “reading and listening skills begin to converge at about eighth grade.” Despite this research, a recent report by Scholastic showed the frequency of parents reading aloud to their children decreases dramatically after ages 5 and 8.
10. Be a lifelong reader yourself.
Model reading every day to your children, and they will be more likely to embrace the same literacy values.
Great Reading Resources for Parents
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Outlines why, how, and when to read aloud to children and includes a treasury of recommended books for kids of all ages.
The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
After reading together for 100 consecutive nights, a father and his fourth-grade daughter continued their “streak” until she left for college.
Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin and Tsh Oxenreider
Includes a reading treasury of books from around the world.
Full of tips, resources and book recommendations for parents of kids of all ages and reading levels.
Not just for teachers, Scholastic has a section for parents that includes resources, book recommendations and more.
“Kids and Family Reading Report”-You can check this out at Scholastic.com
This website helps parents and educators encourage children’s endeavors in language arts. For grades K-12.
Under the website’s education tab, there is a reading and language section with tips, activities and resources for parents.
Great Reading Websites for Kids
Created by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Storyline Online features accomplished actors and actresses reading children’s books.
Children can read along with early readers or even write their own story.
Short Stories are read aloud while children follow along to highlighted text. Includes educational games for K-5.
Features a collection of original, fairytale and classic children’s stories.
Features reading games for kids.
Janeen Lewis is a mother, freelance journalist, teacher and avid reader. She has been published in several regional parenting publications and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teacher Tales.