The single most important skill your child can learn is reading.
Yet so many children lag behind in literacy. They will do the least amount of reading possible, and do not enjoy reading as a recreational activity.
With a little bit of knowledge, however, you can make your child a better reader. As reading ability translates directly into better grades and staying in school, this can make a huge difference for your child both now and in the future.
To encourage your child to read, make sure that you have a number of books from a variety of reading levels. As your child has advanced in their education, you may have removed easier books that are now below his reading level.
While you may have thought that this would encourage your child to read, it may have the opposite effect. There should be books available that your child can pick up and read easily, just for fun.
Yes, your child will need books at the appropriate level to improve their skills, but encouraging recreational reading, and reinforcing that reading can be fun is just as important. You may also want to have children’s magazines readily available in addition to books.
It is a good idea to choose books on subjects your child is interested in. If your child likes sports, or horses, or even fairies, you can find a number of books on those subjects.
Graphic novels and comic books are also acceptable choices. Give your child books that interest them, and they are more likely to want to read. If your child loves video games, look for books that tie into those games, and video games that involve reading.
Does your child have a good place to read? You should also see that your child has a place to read that is comfortable and has good lighting. You can create such a space in a common family area, or in the child’s room. A bookcase of one’s own is also a good motivator, especially if you get to choose or decorate the bookcase.
By the time your child is in kindergarten, they should have their own library card. Go with your child to the public library, and show them that reading is an activity you enjoy as well. Show your child how to find age appropriate books.
Older children can learn to use the library’s computers to find books on their own. Try to visit the library at a time when you are not rushed. Give your child plenty of time to become acquainted with the library, and make a selection. Make regular visits to the library a fun, family activity.
You should begin making bedtime stories a regular part of your child’s bedtime routine from an early age, and do not give up bedtime stories just because your child can now read for themselves. Teens, and even adults, can enjoy being read to.
Children are sometimes reluctant to display their reading skills because they fear that becoming skilled in reading could put an end to that special bedtime ritual.
Be sure to let them know that story time will continue. Also, children who are told they can stay up an extra 10 minutes but only if they are reading will usually happily jump at the chance to stay up later, not realizing they are improving their reading skills.
You should also make sure that your child receives regular eye exams. Sometimes an aversion to reading is as simple as the need for glasses.