Help Your Child Learn to Read

Parents can do quite a bit to help their child learn to read. In fact, children start learning about language and reading in their infancy, long before they ever set foot in a school. Children are helped on their language learning journey when their parents structure their daily routine and share the learning experience.

Read aloud daily. The most important and beneficial activity a parent can do is to read aloud to their child daily from day one. Reading aloud helps the child in many different ways. They will learn general concepts of print (reading progresses from left to right, top to bottom, the marks on the page have meaning, and much more). They will also learn what reading provides: insight into other worlds, fun, and practical information. The best part for the child is the shared time with an adult. They learn to love reading and enjoying reading does more to help your child become a good reader than anything else.

Have your child read to you. Choose books which are easy for your child to read so they will feel successful and develop confidence in their reading ability.

Talk about books. Ask your child what they liked about the story or characters in the story. Did they enjoy the pictures? How did the pictures help tell the story? Share stories of a similar event in your life or the life of your child. Talking about books helps a child connect with reading and remember what they have read.

Write notes to your child. Include a short note in your child’s lunch box, on the refrigerator, or their bedroom door. “I love you” or “Enjoy your field trip!” go a long way in motivating your child to read. Parents are the most powerful influence in a child’s life and your child will want to be able to connect with you.

Go easy on correction. Remember your prime purpose is to help your child be successful. This means you need to build confidence as well as skill. Instead of asking the child to sound out a word each time they struggle, you can use the following strategies to make reading a pleasant experience they will want to repeat.

  • Ask what word would make sense at this point in the story.
  • Tell the child the word.
  • If the child reads the word correctly at another point in the story, gently point out the word where they had trouble and examine the word with your child looking for the similarities.

Read everything. Encourage your child to read every word they see—road signs, cereal boxes, messages on TV, newspapers, magazines, addresses, the phone book, and menus. Words are all around us and being able to decipher them is a wonderful way of understanding more about the world in which we live.

Parents can help their child to read successfully by practicing the tips in this article.

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