As a parent, you know that learning to read helps your child’s academic success. That’s not the only reason to encourage your child to read — reading is one of the great joys in anyone’s life. That, in and of itself, is a reason to encourage your child to read! Keep reading for our tips on how you can encourage your child to love books.
Learning to read isn’t always easy. That’s why it is so important for parents and caregivers to play an active role in making reading a joy for their children. If you follow these 6 tips, getting your kids to fall in love with reading doesn’t have to be hard.
1. Make the books and stories extraordinary!
Your big goal is to make books and stories so wonderful, so special, and so exciting that your child cannot wait to learn to read. They will look forward to having the skill so much that they are willing to work hard to become a reader — hooray!
2. Read aloud
Reading aloud is the single most valuable activity parents can do to encourage their children to not just read, but to love reading. This is not original advice, no doubt you’ve heard it before. Nevertheless, it’s important to say. Children who love hearing stories are far more likely to become children who love reading stories.
3. Start a dialogue
Talk to your child and play with language. Ask questions, and encourage your child to ask you questions. Tell stories about things you’ve done together. Make up stories. Talk about books you’ve read together. Laugh at jokes you’ve read or made up together. Play a game where you challenge each other to think of new ways to say the same thing. For example, you could say, “Let’s go for a walk,” then your child could say, “Let’s head out for a walk,” and then when it’s your turn again, you could say “Let’s have a stroll.”
Don’t over do it; keep the language play fun. Explain why something you see on TV annoys you. Share stories of your childhood. Share secrets. Don’t simplify your vocabulary — at least not too much. Bring your child into your world and help build their vocabulary along the way!
4. Use suspense and prediction
When you read to your child, stop every now and again to ask what might happen next. This kind of prediction helps kids pay special attention to the stories they hear.
5. Reread stories
Often the first book a child “reads” is one they have memorized from hearing it read to them so often! You can change up the experience by reading the book in funny voices, giving your child a chance to “read” the passages they might have memorized, or making small mistakes or changes as you read and then letting them correct you.
6. Look at the pictures before you read
“Read” the pictures of a new book together before you read the words. Go through the book, starting with the cover and imagine what the story is about.
Take a “walk” through the book by just looking at the pictures. This is another way of priming a child for reading and for giving them a sense of ownership over books and stories – a most valuable sense to have!
So there you go! Take these 6 tips to not only encourage your kids to read, but help them develop a love for it!
One easy way to get kids to learn to read is to make the learning material something so fun that they’ll be naturally drawn to. That’s exactly what HOMER does!
Written by Peggy Kaye, HOMER’s Senior Director of Learning and Curriculum Design