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Help Your Kids Develop Their Reading Skills

April 27, 2011

Help Your Child Learn to Read

Help Your Child Learn to Read

We get lots of parents that ask us, aside from tutoring, how can we help our child learn to read? The answer is: with a little time, a lot of love, and a few pointers.

Get them reading early in their pre-school years

  • Make reading time a DAILY event. Set aside 20-30 minutes a day for your child to read. You can alternate between them reading to you and you reading to them.
  • Read out loud. It engages with multiple senses, fires the imagination, and helps orient them to written language. Keep in mind that mistakes and struggles with a word are OK, this is why we practice. Gently correct them and move on.
  • Help kids from 4 to 8 learn their simple words by quizzing them on things you see as you are around town. “What’s that [stop] sign say?”  or “Does that say walk or don’t walk?”
  • Flash cards are a great way to practice sight words. Have them tell you the word, then use it in a sentence.
  • It’s OK if they can’t read for long when they’re young. They haven’t developed an adult level of focus. Try having them read for a few minutes followed by you reading to them for a few.  Or have them read a short book to you, and you read a more advanced book to them while they try to follow along. Be patient, several short reading events are as good as one long reading event at this age.
  • Look for opportunities to write. This is another way to help them learn the language. Have them write letters with their fingers in a shallow pan or baking sheet filled with sand. This gives them an opportunity for tactile learning, to which some children really respond well.

Once they get to grade school, keep them reading

  • Talk to them about what they read. Getting them out of their usual conversations and discussing an unusual topic will help improve their verbal abilities.
  • Have them write and read to you their own stories, not only does it engage their imagination, but it lets them practice their writing.
  • Let them start their own library. Give them designated shelves for storage of their books. Filling the shelf can be a major accomplishment.
  • Don’t be afraid to have them continue reading out loud to you. It helps them cement their language skills.
  • Introduce them to the public library, it offers tons of free reading materials and the ability to try a new book, author, or subject without having to buy it. There are many resources out there to find a great book for your child at the library.
  • There are great online resources too, like starfall.com for young readers to use on the computer.
  • Can your young adults read to their younger siblings and have younger siblings read to them?

With these few tips and a bit of patience, kids will learn to be great readers. Just make learning to read a priority and make some time for it, and young minds will learn to enjoy it. Taking time to make reading an enjoyable family event will instill a love of reading that will last a lifetime.

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