One of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child is a love of reading. Children from literacy rich homes are likely to read more and score higher on reading assessments. Parents can begin reading to their children in the womb and continue to share reading with their adult children. Reading together provides practice of literacy skills and builds vocabulary. Here are some ideas based on age.
1. Read the words on the page to your child. The author may choose different words than you use on a daily basis. This increases vocabulary.
2. Allow your child to turn the pages in board books. Point to each page as you go through the book. Reading from front to back and left to right is a basic literacy skill.
3. Touch and feel books allow your infant to interact with the text.
1. All of the above plus
2. Provide different types of texts: magazines, eBooks, picture books, etc.
3. Act out the stories you read. This allows you to see if your child is comprehending the stories in a fun way.
1. All of the above plus
2. Write a story together. You can write the words and your child can draw the pictures.
3. Take turns reading pages.
4. Read a chapter book aloud to your child that is above the level that he could read by himself. This makes a great bedtime routine.
5. Ask your child questions about the story and make sure that the child is getting the answers from the story and not from her own knowledge.
6. Talk about the parts of a text: the cover, the title, the author’s name, the spine, pictures, the photo caption, charts, the headings, the subheadings, boldface words, hyperlinked words, the glossary, etc.
Middle and High School
1. Provide different types of texts: age-appropriate magazines, local newspaper, biographies, young adult novels, classic literature, poetry, audio books, comics, and especially text about your child’s interests. Take trips to the library to explore different types of texts. There is a book for everyone; you just have to find it.
2. Model reading for your children. Let them see you reading. Let them hear you thinking about what you read. You can even read what your child is reading and talk about it together.
3. Help your child choose the right strategy to help her read text from school. If it is a school owned book, she can use post-it notes to make notes in the margins, or you can make copies so the child can highlight and annotate the text. (Just follow copyright laws.) Rereading and reading aloud help with difficult passages. Many books are available as audio books too. Encourage your child to look up the words he doesn’t know and to ask you questions when he doesn’t understand. Ask your child’s teacher what reading strategies they are using in class, so you can reinforce these at home too.
The most important point is just to make reading part of your family life. It matters.