Raise a Child that Reads

Encouraging Young Children to Read

Many parents recognize the value and enjoyment of reading to their children.  However, many are not aware of how they can help their child become a better reader.   Because the skill of reading is so vital to a child’s future success in school, parents can and need to promote this reading in order for their children to meet success.  Therefore, it is very important for parents to encourage their children’s interest in reading so they will become life-long learners.  Learning to read is a long and difficult process for many children. Much of a child’s success is based on a child’s developing language and literacy-related activities which begin early in life.  There is an abundance of research that supports the idea that children develop a more positive attitude toward reading if they experience warm and close contact with their parents while sharing this activity.

Ways to Encourage Young Readers:

  • Talk with your infant or young child before he/she learns to read. Talking with your child before they learn to speak will help them develop language skills.  Children need to develop strong oral language skills and vocabulary if they are to become fluent in the areas of reading and writing.
  • Read to your child at least 20 minutes each day.  Depending on your child’s ability to focus, it is important for them to be read to daily.  This provides the children with an awareness of reading that they will imitate later.
  • Sing songs and recite poems and rhymes that have repetitive sounds.
  • Make sure your child’s day care or preschool teacher reads aloud daily and has a variety of books for them to view.
  • Model good reading habits.
  • Visit your local library and utilize the services such as story time and the opportunity to choose a book to take home.

Encourage School-Age Readers:

  • Continue to be a good role model – let your children see you read.
  • Encourage your child to read on their own at home.
  • Keep a variety of reading materials in the house.
  • Encourage your child to practice reading aloud.
  • Write short notes for your child to read.
  • Encourage activities that require your child to read (reading a recipe, reading directions).
  • Establish a reading time, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.
  • Talk with your child, keep the communication lines open with your child.
  • Provide your child with materials to write and encourage them even if it’s just a note.
  • Limit television time, computer and video games too.
  • Visit the library on a weekly basis.

By working with your child at an early age you are establishing a strong foundation in the areas of language, literacy and fostering them to become a life-long learner.  During the early elementary years, children focus on learning how to read, which is a very complex process.  Take care not to overemphasize the process of learning to read, but more importantly encouraging your child to practice reading.  Reading for pleasure and interest will help develop their reading skills and give your child the opportunity to practice in a meaningful way.

(1991 -Parent Brochure/ How can I Improve My Child’s Reading)