We all say we'd like our children to become good readers, but getting them there isn't simply a matter of providing books or a good preschool program. Raising a good reader requires smart parental involvement and a few tricks.
Things You Will Needbooks
Step 1Read to your child consistently. Start reading to your child when s/he is a baby and keep reading together for as long as possible. Even when your child can read independently, keep reading aloud so that your child can hear what a good reader sounds like and so that you can discuss books together.
Step 2Provide lots of books. Garage sales and library sales are a great place to find cheap children's books. Take your child to the library every week and choose books together.
Step 3Set a good example. Read in front of your child, even if it's work-related or a recipe. This way your child can see how important reading is.
Step 4Be open-minded. Good readers enjoy reading, so don't worry so much about what your child is reading. Comic books, graphic novels and popular series can still help your child improve his/her reading skills.
Step 5Take time to rhyme. Young children need to be able to hear the different sounds in words (called phonemes) in order to be successful at sounding out (decoding) words later on. Make up silly rhymes, substitute sounds in familiar words (such as saying "lat" for "hat" and seeing if your child can correct you) and help your child become aware of what sounds letters make.
Step 6Increase environmental print. Environmental print means the words that we see around us every day, such as "Exit" signs and advertisements. Many kids can recognize their names (or the McDonald's sign) long before they can recognize letters individually. Label toy boxes and other things around the house to help you child recognize more environmental print.
When kids see reading as important to the adults around them, they are more motivated to read. The more motivated they are to read, the better they will get at it. So simply by prioritizing reading in your home, you can help your child become a good reader.
Tips & WarningsDon't fall for programs that offer to teach your baby to read or your preschooler to read chapter books. Those kids may wind up recognizing a lot of words, but they won't love reading or be able to understand what they read very well.