Help Your Child Become a Better Reader
With the school year just starting up, our thoughts go to our goals of helping our kids have a great educational experience so they can be successful in school. Having excellent reading skills is essential to their entire education and can play an important role throughout their lives. In fact, how well a 7-year-old is able to read can predict how much money they’ll make in their adult years. So reading is not only essential to get them through the school year, but essential to their lifelong knowledge and advancement.
But many kids just aren’t interested so how do we encourage a passion for reading and help them improve their skills? These tips will help get your kids excited about reading.
- Start early. Even if they’re still infants, reading bedtime stories will lay the groundwork for later. You simply can’t start reading to your child too early. There are hundreds of studies proving the benefits of reading to your children when they are young, even as early as in the womb. The earlier you start, the easier it will be for your child later.
- Encourage them tell you a “story.” Kids have great imaginations and they love to use them every chance they get. Get your kids to make up their own story and tell it to you. As they’re telling their story, write it down. Then you can read back their own story to them and show them how to read words they already know. They’ll slowly start to connect what they say with what you write, making it easier to identify words.
- Teach them to sound it out. Children don’t usually hear all the sounds within a word. For instance, they hear “dog,” but not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh” sounds that compile the word. Teach them how to slow down and hear each sound so they can learn to sound out words they don’t recognize. Play word games with them. Say a word and then break it apart: chair… ch-air.
- Teach phonics. Without knowing letter sounds, your child won’t be able to sound out words. Use toys like ABC books, flash cards, blocks and magnet letters to teach them various sounds. Keep the lessons short and fun so they stay focused and entertained, no more than 5–10 minutes.
- Ask questions. After reading your child’s favorite bedtime story to them, ask them to tell the story back to you in their own words. Ask questions like who’s the main character, where did he or she go, and what did they do. Ask your child what their favorite part of the story is. Reading isn’t just about learning words, but also thinking about and remembering the ideas and events. Helping your child read and comprehend what they read will help them develop the skills they’ll need later for more difficult reading.
Reading and comprehension is essential to your child’s overall education so get them started early. It will not only improve their educational experience but it will also build their imaginations and make them great thinkers.