If you employ some well-known strategies, this can be the year your child learns to enjoy reading, which will pay positive dividends for him and for his entire future. If a child doesn’t enjoy reading, he will not read enough to really master the skill and reap the rewards. He may drift through life not fully understanding much of anything he reads and life is a nightmare for people like that. Help make reading fun for your child.
Parents Need to Encourage Reading
You may have been a poor reader or you may have loved reading but, in either case, you should understand as a parent why you must do everything possible to encourage your child to read more, read better, and read faster.
- Reading is the single most important skill a child learns at school.
- In all school subjects—even math—marks improve for the child who can read well.
- Testing becomes easier for the good reader because he understands the questions better and can check his answers more quickly than poor readers.
- The more a child likes reading, the more he will read, and the faster he will become.
- A child only likes reading, and only reads faster when he can read well.
- For a good reader, everything in life becomes easier: doing well in school, staying in school, extending education beyond high school, getting a good job, and the performance of everyday tasks that require the reading of directions or instructions.
This is where a parent can make a big contribution. Parents don’t need to know how to teach their children to read, but must know how to encourage the process, and make reading not only less of a chore but also fun. It’s hard to have fun when you are required to do something that you don’t do very well. Your child needs practice, practice, and more practice to read well enough to make the experience enjoyable.
How to Hook Your Child on Reading
You can help hook your child on reading by making it fun:
- Share Reading With Your Child – Read fiction to children when they are small and continue reading to them when they are older, too. Listening to interesting and exciting stories will cause your child to visualize action and characters, and visualization is a necessary component of reading.
- Talk About What You Read – Share important information that you read in newspapers, magazines, books, and on your iPad. It will help your child understand how much everyone learns by reading.
- Remind them of Why Reading is Important – They may believe they can slip through life the way they slip through reading at school. Ask your children to read signs, maps, and directions, and remind them that they must be able to perform these tasks in life by themselves. As well, they need to read menus and information notices; they need to be able to read to pass a driver’s test and to fill out a job application. Emphasize that they must learn to read well and they can do it.
- Draw up a Home Reading Schedule – Use a chart and post stickers when each reading session is finished, using anything that captures your child’s interest. Stick to the schedule as closely as possible and praise him when goals are reached and reward him for it.
- Devise a Reward System – Did you hear the word, “bribe”? No, the word is “reward,” and you can use any reward that works—extra privileges, skipping chores, a new book, or anything at all that can act as a motivator.
- Find Time to Listen to Him Read – If you can’t sit with him, have him read to you while you work. If he stumbles over a word, have him guess. You guess. Make him understand that you don’t need to read every word correctly to understand what the sentence means. Talk about the story, show you are interested, and ask what he thinks will happen next.
- Give Praise and Don’t Show Impatience, or Criticize, or Laugh at Mistakes –If you are sitting with him while he is reading and he hesitates over a word, tell him to look at the first letter and guess the word. If he guesses wrong or continues to hesitate, tell him the word. Remember, you are not teaching him how to read; you are doing everything possible you to make reading a pleasant and happy experience. Thank him for reading to you and tell him he is improving.
- Ensure That Good Books Are Available – Go to the library and help your child select books on subjects he cares about. The books should be slightly easier than those he reads at school and be sure to include fiction. Factual books can’t be read as quickly and easily as fiction and your goal is to make reading fun. Ask the librarian for help in selecting books if you are unsure of what is suitable for his age and slightly lower than his current reading ability. In libraries, there are books for everyone.
With the right strategies, you can help your child learn to enjoy reading, which will make him read more often and with more pleasure. Learning to read well enough to make it an easy task is a major step in becoming a good reader. You can help him on his way.
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