Think about your child’s reading habits. Do they read every evening? Is the material assigned or for fun? Reading to children and discussing the book you read is the best way to increase your child’s IQ and instill a love of reading. It’s the truth. School performance correlates more directly with your child’s reading scores than any other indicator. Children who read for fun every day become better readers, score higher on tests and have greater content knowledge than those who don’t. With life offering multiple easier ways for children to entertain themselves, how can you inspire a lifelong love of reading?
It is important to start reading to your child from an early age. And not just at bedtime. Board books and cloth books are great choices for your child’s first toys. Carry them around with you and whenever you want, pull out a book for you and your child to read together. When your child is older, keep reading with them. Don’t let the fact that they can read by themselves let you give up this important emotional bonding experience. Books are great ways to trigger good discussions about values and choices. Don’t stop reading to them until they tell you to stop. Plus, alternating who reads the pages is a great way to help them learn to read on their own.
Most children learn to read naturally as they develop preliminary skills. Your goal is to not push them to sound out the words. Rather it is to encourage a love of books. Teaching them to read may take the fun out of reading. In fact, some very smart children don’t learn to read until they are seven years old. They quickly catch up. One child who started reading at 3 and another who started at 6 could both be reading at an eighth-grade reading level by the tie they are in fourth grade. There is no benefit to pushing your child to read early. In fact, it could make them feel inferior if they feel put on the spot.
If you notice that your child seems to have a hard time recognizing letters, or confuses letters, or can’t sound out words, or can’t recognize words that he has seen many times before, it is possible that he has a learning disability such as dyslexia. Discuss your concerns with your child’s school.
Sometimes children who learned to read early will stop because of a lack of interest. Keep this phase a short one! The problem is that they can read simple books, but crave more developed plots and characters. However, those books may be too advanced, full of words they don’t know and too tiring to read. The labor distracts them from the story. If your child craves more developed plotlines, read with them. This will keep them fascinated with the secrets in books and motivate them to do the hard work to become a proficient reader. Take the extra time to track down books that they can read and will find exciting. Picture books with lots of words will work as the pictures will keep them interested while they figure out the words. It will only be a matter of time before their reading skills catch up with their love of books. Then they can transfer to simple chapter books where, if you can find a series books, the stories will keep them interested in the next book and the next.
Set up daily reading time. This can be a perfect chill-out time after school or a general wind-down time in the evening. If your child is ready for a later bedtime, tell them they can stay up a half hour later if that time was spent reading a book in bed. If your child is too tired at the end of the day to read, set up time while you make dinner or after homework is done. No matter the time, be a good role model for your children. Discuss what they were reading at the table. Have family reading time. As your children get older, pass books around a circle and have the whole family read a book together.
It is never too early to start visiting the library. This is a great place to read to your child, or to simply help them select books. Libraries are great ways to switch out the books in your house without spending a fortune. No one likes to read the same books over and over. Swap out your books by season or by your child’s general interest. Write down the names of the books you check out so you can keep track of returning them on time. Then keep those books on a separate shelf so you don’t lose them and so you can easily find something to read. Going to the library also helps you develop a list of authors and books that peak your child’s interest, so you can find good ones easily. Plus they are usually separated by various ages and subjects making it easy to find a book for your child’s various changing interests.
Elementary assembly performer Cris Johnson designed this school assembly program to get your students excited about reading! It’s been called the perfect kick-off for a P.A.R.P. (Pick A Reading Partner) campaign by many of his past New York clients. Like all of Cris’ other programs, “I Love To Read!” is equally effective for middle school assemblies as it is for primary schools.
Students of all ages will benefit from Cris’ encouragement to read because it’s FUN. He also explains MANY reasons why it’s absolutely necessary to have good reading skills throughout life.