Reading with your child is perhaps one of the most important gifts you will give as a parent. Not only is it quality time together, it is also a way for your child to develop a love of reading that will serve her well her entire life. The topics that you explore open doors for wonderful experiences and conversations, and the time together creates a lasting bond. The following tips help make sure that reading becomes a way of life for your child.
- Set aside a time
Choose a special time each day that you read together. Whether it is at bedtime or another time, your child will be able to look forward to the quality time together.
- Let your child choose
Let your child choose books that fascinate and excite her. Go to the bookstore or library together and choose something fantastic.
- Choose books that are the right level
Find the books that are the right level of difficulty. The goal is for your child to gain both skills and confidence, without becoming discouraged or defeated.
- Read it and experience it
Read books that you can then experience together. Choose books on chimpanzees, apes, and orangutans before you go visit the Primate House at your local zoo. The book comes to life!
- Say how much you enjoy reading
Let your child know how much you enjoy your reading time together. Give specific examples of things that you particularly like, such as listening to him read or exploring new topics.
- Let them see you reading
READ! Make sure that your kids see you incorporate reading into your daily life. Model how to be an avid reader.
- Read with fun in your voice
Play with the voices of characters or practice reading a favorite book in another voice. Read with humor and expression. Let your child come up with voices too!
- I read to you, you read to me
Take turns! Each of you take a turn reading so that your child can develop reading skills and also enjoy listening to you.
- Take control of the television
Make sure that distractions like the TV are not an issue during reading time. Also, encourage reading time as a free-time activity instead of TV and video games.
- Dig deeper into the story
Look at the cover and make predictions. Ask your child questions, like “Why do you think the main character just did that?” Be book detectives together.
- Once is not enough
If your child has a favorite book, read it over and over. This helps build both confidence and fluency.
- Imagine that
Explore what you think happens next. Make up an alternate ending. Ask your child to make up another character who he thinks should be in the story.
- They are never too old
Don’t stop reading to your child. Even when children are older, they still love this time. It is also a perfect opportunity to use books to introduce important issues that may not come up otherwise.
- Keep it fun!
If your child has tears, STOP. The time reading together should be fun, and if it has become a fight, step back and evaluate. You want to help your child develop a love of reading!