Today kicks off Read Across America Week, a fun week of celebrating books and the joy of reading. We have a fun-filled week of exciting activities to engage our students at my school this week, including a breakfast of green eggs and ham! There are so many fun activities you can incorporate at home during this week and beyond to spend some family time bonding with books and helping your child fall in love with reading. I’m often asked by parents, “What can I do to help my child learn to like reading?”. My best advice is to start early and read often.
“Developing strong reading skills is a crucial part of each child’s education. In fact, reading proficiency can impact all areas of a child’s current and future life potential. Parents’ attitudes and behaviors related to literacy also have a huge impact on how children view reading,” according to Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy who offers the following reading tips for parents:
1. Read The Same Book Over and Over- Although it may make parents crazy, reading the same book to a child multiple times has real educational benefits. Young children like to predict what will happen in a story. The repetition helps a child to create brain connections and build confidence in their literacy skills.
2. Going to the Library is Still Important- Even in our digital age, a trip to the library remains a valuable family activity. Making the time in your busy schedule for a library visit demonstrates your interest and support of reading. A library is full of inspiration that can help your child discover and explore a variety of interests. Caring for and returning a library book also builds an understanding of time and responsibility.
3.Kids Should Read Adult Books- No, you shouldn’t hand over your copy of the latest romance novel. However, when choosing reading materials, don’t limit your choices to “kid” books. For example, if your son shows an interest in cars, allow him to explore a car repair manual or car-centered magazines. Seeing a wide range of written text reinforces that reading is an important skill that everyone needs.
4.Interaction During Story time is Key- Reading aloud to your child has proven lifelong literacy benefits. However, while reading a story, it’s also important to stop to talk about the story to further engage her in the process. You can ask questions about the story, talk about the emotions related to the story or even create an alternate ending. You’ll elevate story time from a passive to an active pursuit, making for a richer experience.
5.Children Need to See Parents Reading for Pleasure- All kids are born mimics – it’s how humans learn, by repeating behaviors they observe. Multiple studies show that children who see their parents reading for pleasure are much more likely to become strong readers themselves. Allow your child to “catch” you reading a book, magazine or e-book, and talk about what reading means to you.