Reading development is an integral part of your child’s overall development.
One of the most significant milestones in a person’s life is learning how to read. Once they can read independently, their access to the world expands in numerous ways.
Sally, from Tenderhearted Teacher, has so graciously given me ten tips to help encourage a young child’s reading development before they are in school.
What can I do at home to help my child learn to read?
The following are all her words and ideas:
As a preschool teacher, one of the most common questions I hear throughout the school year is, “What can I do at home to help my child learn to read?”
My answer is always the same.
Learning to read doesn’t happen overnight; each child will develop at their own pace. However, there are things that both teachers and families can do to help their little ones develop an interest in reading starting at an early age.
The most important approach is to help children understand that words hold meaning and that writing serves a purpose by conveying messages.
Families and teachers can help make this connection by exposing children to books and other types of writing and providing them with opportunities to build their vocabulary through play and daily conversation.
Here are ten tips and strategies that I share with caregivers that will encourage a young child’s reading development:
10 Easy Ways To Encourage Reading Development
- Let them listen to you read various materials. It can be books, newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, menus, flyers, etc. These are called Environmental Print and are essential to a child’s reading development.
- Encourage your child to “read” to you or other family members, too (even if they make up their own words and stories!)
- Let them handle and hold books on their own. Then, allow them to flip through the pages and look at the images and text.
- Remember to point out the cover page, title, author, and illustrator when reading to your child. Then, track each word with your finger and demonstrate how we read from left to right and top to bottom.
- Read with enthusiasm and a clear voice.
- Ask story-related questions and expand on your child’s answers. For example, you can ask basic questions like “Who?” “What?” “When?” and “where?” and higher-level questions such as “how would you solve this problem if this happened to you?”
- Provide your child with a quiet, cozy, and comfortable reading area in your home. (I call mine “the book nook.”) This space could be on top of pillows on your child’s playroom or bedroom floor. Or, if you lack space, it could be a particular spot on the couch or curled up on your child’s bed.
- Your book nook should have a variety of texts for your child, i.e., fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, rhyming, etc. Remember to include books with topics your child has shown interest in to enhance existing knowledge. But, also add unfamiliar books so your child can learn something new.
- It’s also essential to include books with diverse characters and backgrounds. This exposure allows your child to learn about different experiences from their own.
- Finally, you don’t need to spend all day reading and playing with your child. Still, you should be intentional about how you model appropriate literacy and language skills during play and day-to-day activities. Young children learn by watching, as well as by doing. So, you are your child’s best example of literacy skills in practice.
As parents, we want the best for our children. Giving your kids the gift of literacy gives them the world.
By encouraging their reading and providing them with the tools to enjoy literacy, we will be giving them not only the skills of reading but the skills of writing (yes, even very young children can write- we call it Emergent Writing), Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and of course, the extraordinary gift of imagination.
Give your kid a book. Teach them to read. Please give them the very gift of literacy that they crave.
Encouraging reading development in our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Books are life-changing! Hopefully, some of these tools and tips will help encourage reading development in your young children and set your children up for a lifetime of success.