You can surround a child with awesome books, but you can’t make them read. What you can do is slowly and gently encourage their reading skills.
An early start in reading improves your child’s academic success over the course of their school career.
So how will you build confidence in their reading skills? Start by picking out and integrating some of the tips below.
Set a Structured Reading Time
School has structured reading time at different points during the day. Consider incorporating this at home as well.
If your child doesn’t want to read, set apart time to read to them first. Take your finger and follow along with the words in the book. Point out things in the stories and use different voices for each character.
From time to time, ask them what a word is or if they see any they know. Your willingness to read to them first and engage in conversation about the story lessens the resistance you may face when it’s their turn to read to you.
Create a Reading Corner
There’s a book called “A Little House of My Own” published in the 1940s. It discusses how children want and even need time alone, in a special place that’s just for them.
That can mean under a table with a blanket over it or a fancy reading nook. This not only makes reading more exciting, but it gives children something they don’t have a lot of – privacy.
If your child feels shy about reading, then they can practice in peace in their little spot. Don’t disturb them while they’re in there, just make books available.
As their confidence grows, they may show more interest in reading outside of their private reading place.
Don’t Be Critical
No one is perfect when they first start learning a skill.
It’s okay if a child mispronounces a few words or stumbles over things. They need to feel like they can follow the story.
You may hear them say a word and then try it again another way. That’s great – your child’s brain recognized the word didn’t sound right. Let them try a few different pronunciations before you jump in to help.
When you’re reading a book together with your child, or they’re reading it to you, you want them fully engaged. Ask your child questions about what has happened so far in the story.
Or, ask them what they think will happen next. How are the characters feeling? How would they feel if they were in that situation?
This sets up the idea of active reading, which will help them when they get to more difficult texts.
Share Your Stories
What do you talk about with your child on the way to school? Consider telling them about the book you’re reading, or a book you love.
Hearing you talk about reading with interest and excitement builds a positive attitude.
Ask them to tell you a story, while you’re driving around in the car. If it’s needed, you can prompt them with questions that will move the story along.
At first, the stories may be simple like them telling you about their favorite toy. As they get older, the stories become more imaginative and complex.
Let Children Read to “Help”
Many teachers incorporate dolls and stuffed animals into reading time by asking the children to read books to them.
If you’re at home and you have younger children, ask your child to read to the baby. Pretending to read a book is a pre-school reading milestone.
Kids love helping with their younger siblings, and your baby will benefit from hearing spoken words.
This practice where kids can read without embarrassment encourages a positive view of reading.
Building Reading Skills
Try not to stress about where your child is in their reading skills journey. It takes longer for some children than others.
Children who take longer to read at first can still be avid and book-loving once they get the hang of it. Don’t push them too hard and try not to be over-critical. Just make sure your home is a place where books are valued and keep reading fun!
Want to learn how to make reading even more fun by letting the youngsters meet the authors? Click here!