Can’t wait to read a bedtime story to your child? Great!
Reading is a flexible and free activity that your family shouldn’t miss out on. It’s a fun bonding time opportunity for parents to help their children become successful readers, and use it as a building block towards language and literacy development.
If you’re ready to flip through pages with your child and improve their reading skills, check out these tips to set them up for language success in school and in life.
We highlight that reading habits offer a many benefits to your child including increased cognitive development, improved literacy skills and a longer attention span.
There are a few reading tips for parents that you can do that will help your reading experience with your little one, especially at their early age. Let’s discuss them in more detail.
1) Get Rid of Distractions
Keep them focused by turning off the TV, any radio or music sources. Your phone should be on silent and notifications are off to help your child be a successful reader. This is important for struggling readers, and children with disorders that make them less attentive when reading books.
2) Create a Book-Filled Environment
Turn your home into a book-filled habitat. Having lots of age appropriate books that they can easily reach will make them more excited to read books. You don’t need to have a big house when you can create a small comfy reading nook instead.
You don’t have to restrict yourself with children’s books either. Other reading materials such as children’s magazines are also an option!
3) Make It a Daily Routine
Read with your child for at least 15 minutes each day. Bedtime stories are a good example of including the habit as an everyday life routine. At least a year round children’s reading habit will reap more benefits and retention to their language and literacy skills.
4) Model Good Reading Behavior
Children are very observant and tend to follow your behavior. You can set a good example by making reading a habit for yourself.
If you’re not an absolutely avid reader, or have trouble reading as well, that’s okay. Reading can instead be something that you can practice together.
5) Let Them Choose What to Read
Lay out the books and ask them what they want to read. Giving them this choice fosters independent thought, and will help a child learn to take an active part in the activity.
Picking up a child’s favorite book may even help them be more motivated to participate.
6) Sit Comfortably Together When Reading
Kids feel more secure and confident in the activity if you sit closer together or have them on your lap. This will also allow them to take part in holding the book and turning the page, increasing their attention over the activity.
7) Use Pictures in Books
It’s not all about the words as simple pictures help with educational activities too. Books with pictures make a huge difference and help young children learn better.
Colorful illustrations in books are eye-catching for children. You can also ask questions like “What is he/she doing?” while pointing at a page with pictures.
8) Make It Fun
Reading can be just as playful for children. You can try some creative ways, like using voices for characters, singing written nursery rhymes, and making facial expressions to bring words to life.
Look into activity-filled books that help build positive attitudes towards reading. Pop-up books and books with flaps or pull tabs are excellent for engagement.
Reading also isn’t restricted to longer materials. You can help them read printed words from kitchen labels, or even road signs while driving.
9) Show How Words are Read
Introduce your child to associating words to sounds by pointing your finger to guide the process (left to right, in the case of English). Letting them hear sounds as they read books will help build the connection!
You can do this while reading aloud and pointing at a word as you pronounce it. Have your child watch your mouth sometimes too, so that they can see and mimic the movements you make.
10) Let Them Take the Lead While Reading
When they read along with their own voice, let them! You can encourage more by taking turns when reading. With a few nudges here and there, they will be able to read on their own eventually.
If they feel like wanting to retell fairy tales and stories with their own words, let them as well! It will build their comprehension and normalize talking about a story they read about.
11) Ask and Answer Questions
Talk about the book and ask relevant questions. Aim for answers that are more complex than “yes/no”. You can also encourage them to ask their own questions, pausing the reading process to answer them.
The same as we discussed in suggested speech therapy activities, try to repeat and expand on what they answer to introduce new words to their word bank.
12) Know When to Stop
Encourage your child to read, but there’s no need to force them into it when they have lost interest. Be patient as it takes time for children to get used to longer reading times.
It’s also possible that they might just have reduced interest in the current book. You can try and see if they want to read anything else. Writing down book lists of what they like to read helps parents keep their child’s focus too.
13) Say How Much You Love Reading with Them
Reading can be a valuable bonding time for parents too. Let them know and talk about how you appreciate the special time together, and consider it as one of the best parts of your day.
While children become fully adept with reading at various ages, it’s best when a reader begins at an early age. This will help prepare them when they leave home for school everyday. Reading early will help them become more engaged students.
Parents are also their first teachers and they are crucial to their child’s success. Many resources are available for parents online, such as Reading Rockets, a national multimedia project in the U.S. built to help and encourage children to read more.
You can do many other language practices at home to develop their reading skills. To learn what is best for your child at home and get more easy ways to help them read, book your free consultation with us today.