Reading affects every single area of our lives. If kids struggle with reading, it’s highly likely that they’ll struggle in other areas of their academic life as well. However, parents can play a large role in influencing kids to form better reading habits and become better readers — keep reading for how!
1. Read With Your Kids
Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early childhood reading success and future academic achievement. Kids learn from parental modeling, so starting a daily reading ritual for pre-K kids is vital for developing a child’s love for reading. Reading together is also a fantastic way to bond with your little ones. Kids who have 100 or more books tend to be more ready to tackle academic challenges, so make sure your children have an array of engaging books in their bookshelf. Adding books with pop-outs will also help stimulate the imagination and make reading fun.
Before getting started, read the title and ask your child to make a prediction of what the story is about. Point to words and pictures as you read to help kids make the correlation between the story and the illustrations. Also read with enthusiasm and energy by changing pitch and intonation to punctuate the story and give each character a voice. Follow up each story by asking questions to ensure that your child understood the story and can relate it to another story or personal experience. The love of reading is partially developed by relating stories to real life.
2. Set Technology Limits
Set a predetermined amount of time that kids can plug into technology (including TV) each day. Continue your daily reading rituals by scheduling reading time for your kids each day. Reading on an e-reader is good, but be sure that kids have an appreciation for traditional books too. Have shared reading time with the family as well as individual reading time, as this will reinforce great reading habits. Reading with good comprehension sets kids up for success in all of their other subjects, like social studies, math, and science.
3. Create a Reading List
It’s important to keep your child’s reading level in mind when helping him choose a good book to read. Use your intuition when asking him questions about what he wants to learn about, who he’d like to meet, or what he wants to be when he grows up. All of these aspects make a good list of things to read about.
For infants and toddlers, choose books with bright and colorful pictures and familiar objects. Cardboard or washable fabrics prevent little hands from getting too excited and ripping pages. Books that appeal to their senses and explore different textures will be fast favorites. Poems and rhymes are also fun for parents to recite over and over again.
Preschoolers love illustrations that are colorful and engaging. Short stories that have simple plots and actions to follow will also hold their short attention spans. Stories that are about everyday life can help them explore their world and ask questions about how things work, which will help them learn new concepts. Characters that are about your child’s age will help him relate to the character and take a greater interest in the story line.
Choosing books for young readers (up to age 11) will take on a new dimension. They enjoy stories that take several days to read, as well as more in-depth versions of their childhood favorites. They still enjoy illustrations and photos, especially in “how- to” books. By this time, your child may have developed favorite authors, so reading other books in a series they authored is a good direction to follow.
Adolescents like to read books with characters who are facing similar challenges in their lives. Novels that take them to faraway places and times can foster their love for science fiction or history. Biographies, folktales and mythology can be good options too.
4. Set Content Guidelines
It is totally fitting for parents to monitor what their kids read. Just like with television and movies, it is reasonable to consider that parents wouldn’t want their kids to engage in books with vulgar language, sex, violence, or drugs. It’s important to only allow kids to read material that is age-appropriate.
5. Screen For Learning Disabilities
Kids who don’t like to read typically don’t have good reading skills. This could be because reading wasn’t a part of their early childhood experience, so they therefore don’t appreciate the value reading has in their lives, but it’s important for parents to delve deeper into the reasons their kids don’t like to read.
If kids find reading boring, it could be that they only read school assignments that don’t tap into their interests. Finding books that are more in alignment with their hobbies or interests might help them enjoy reading more.
Some kids find reading difficult or tedious. That could be relative to how they learned to read. Check in with his teacher and see if there are learning disabilities like dyslexia involved or if a tutor could help get them up to speed. Poor reading skills can lead to kids falling behind in school at not liking school.
Kids like to know that things are relevant to their lives, and some kids just haven’t made the correlation between books and real life. Finding books that tie into their hobbies, interests, or aspirations can greatly improve their interest in reading.
Reading opens up new worlds for kids, as stories can take their imaginations to foreign lands and spark an interest in travel, culture and adventure. Reading biographies can also provide positive role models and inspire kids to excel in sports, academics and service. Give your kids the gift of reading by making it fun and exciting!
Kelly Johnson is a parenting expert and the founder of Parker Time Potions pediatric massage oils (created out of love and a desire to bond with her baby son who was ultimately diagnosed with autism). Kelly educates moms and dads on ways to bond with children of all ages in unique and meaningful ways, and many other parenting and child rearing topics. You can connect with Kelly Johnson on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.