by Peggy Kaye, Director of Learning, Learn With Homer
As a parent, you know that learning to read helps insure your child’s academic success. Just as importantly, though, loving to read is one of the great joys in anyone’s life. That, in and of itself, is a reason to encourage your child to read.
Learning to read isn’t always easy, though. That’s why it is so important for parents to play a role in making reading a joy for children.
But how do you get your kids into reading to begin with?
Here are a few tips to encourage your child to love books:
1. Make them extraordinary!
Your big goal is to make books and stories so wonderful, so special, so exciting that your child cannot wait to learn to read and is willing to work hard to become —yes – a reader—hooray!
2. Read aloud
Reading aloud is the single most valuable activity to encourage children to not just read but love reading. This is not original advice, no doubt you’ve heard it before, but it is, nevertheless, important to say. Children who love hearing stories are more far more likely to be children who love reading them.
3. Start a dialog
Talk to your child. Ask questions. Encourage your child to ask you questions. Tell stories of things you’ve done together. Make up stories. Talk about books you’ve read together. Laugh at jokes. Play a game where you challenge each other to think of new ways to say the same thing. “Let’s go for a walk.” “Let’s head out for a walk.” “Let’s have a stroll.”
Don’t over do it; keep the language play fun. Explain why something you see on TV annoys you. Share stories of your childhood. Share secrets. Don’t tone down you vocabulary, at least not too much. Bring your child into our rich linguistic world.
4. Use suspense and prediction
When you read to your child stop every now and again to ask what might happen next. This kind of prediction helps children dig into to the stories they hear.
5. Reread stories
Often the first book a child “reads” is one they have memorized by hearing the tale so often!
6. Look at the pictures before you read
“Read” the pictures of a new book together before you read the words. Go through the book, starting with the cover and imagine what the story is about.
Take a “walk “through the book looking at the pictures. This is another way of priming a child for reading and for giving them a sense of ownership over the books and stories – a most valuable sense to have!
So there you go! Take these 6 tips to not only encourage your kids to read, but to develop a love for it!
P.S. One easy way to get kids to learn to read is to disguise the learning material as something fun that they’ll be naturally drawn to. That’s exactly what Homer’s reading program does.
About the author, Peggy Kaye:
Ms. Peggy Kaye serves as Director of Learning of Learn With Homer. Ms. Kaye is Pedagogical guru, teacher, illustrator and author of the Games for: series, a Parent’s Choice Award winner in 1991. She is a Contributor to The New York Times Book Review, Slate, Working Mother Magazine, Parenting. She is a Consultant to Children’s Television Workshop and Disney.