Parents and guardians play a crucial role on how quickly their children learn to read, understand and speak. Reading ability is developmental and starts when your little child looks up to you each time you are talking because they can actually hear you and try to understand and make out the words. Today, I’m going to share with you 12 great tips that can help you and your child have fun while working on their early literacy development and learning to love books. Mind you, these 12 tips are only good options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. It is ideal you find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development.
So, let’s get them rolling…
Top twelve tips to improve your child’s reading ability
- Choose a regular time to read to your children every day
Research has shown that regularly reading out loud to children greatly improves their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words. Whether your children are yet to start school or have already started, it will increase their desire to read independently even when you are not around to read to them.
- Keep reading materials around your children
The more you surround your children with reading materials (appealing books, magazines, newspapers, etc), the more likely they are to pick up a material to read. Study has also shown that children with a large array of reading materials in their homes score higher on standardized tests.
- Set aside a family reading time
Set aside a time in which every member of the family reads together silently. The time frame can be about 15 to 30 minutes daily (not too long and not too short). Seeing you read will inspire your children to also read. It can be immediately after dinner while still seated round the dining table. Reading daily will definitely increase their reading fluency.
- Encourage a wide variety of reading activities
Make reading an integral part of your children’s lives by encouraging varieties of reading activities in the family. Have your children read menus, road signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings, and other practical everyday information. Teach them to have books with them that they can read at any time like while waiting for someone, or on a trip.
- Form a library habit
Take your children to the library every week or every few weeks to get new reading materials. In the library, they also have the privilege to meet, make friends and share ideas with other children who have come to read. They will definitely find it fun
- Take note of your children’s progress
If you don’t notice improvements in your children’s reading ability, comprehension, and vocabulary, then you are not making any progress at all. There are some level of skills you child is supposed to possess at every grade level. Find out these skills and make sure your child has them so they can make you proud. You can track their progress in reading skills via report cards and standardized tests.
- Use various aids to help your children
To help your children improve their reading ability, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.
- Tell them stories
Telling your children stories and having them tell you stories in return can also help improve your children’s reading ability, comprehension, and vocabulary. Bed time stories are special to children. You can ask them to read a short story book and tell you about it later at night. They would love that.
- Check for their reading problems
Teachers hardly detect children’s reading problems until they’ve become serious. That is why you don’t have to rely on your children’s teachers. They are your children and not theirs. Find out if your children can sound out words, know sight words, use context to identify unknown words, and clearly understand what they read. Let your children make you proud. It is the joy of every parent or guardian.
- Get help immediately if the reading problem persists.
If you detect any reading problem with your child’s reading ability, don’t be harsh on the poor kid. You need to encourage them, make them feel good, and try to help them. You will need lots of patience. Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. It is a gradual process. The earlier children receive help, the more likely they will become good readers.
- Show enthusiasm for your children’s reading.
Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Like I said before, you have to encourage a lot and exercise patience. Every child picks up at their own pace. You don’t have to compare them to other children. It doesn’t matter whether your child starts early or late, the end result matters.
- Be a good (reading) example
This is the best tip so far. I had to save for last. You are the first role model your children look up to and they will always try to imitate you. Even if your child is fascinated with books from an early age, her fascination will quickly dwindle if she does not see reading modeled in her home. If you are not an avid reader yourself, make a conscious effort to let your children see you reading for at least a few minutes each day! Read a magazine, a newspaper, a novel, your Bible…it’s up to you! But show your child that reading is something that even adults need to do.
I hope these twelve tips will go a great way to help you improve your children’s reading ability as well as their comprehension and vocabulary.
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image source: https://www.booktrust.org.uk/cy-gb/whats-happening/blogs/2016/october/amazing-reasons-to-read-as-a-family—whatever-their-age/
Ochemba Callistus Chinedu is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory science and hopes to become a Medical Lab Scientist. He enjoys reading, writing, traveling, general health, and learning new things.