Encourage Your Child to Read!

Make it a habit! . . . reading in your home, that is. Here are a few tips to help you to encourage your child to read:

  • Read to your teenagers as well as your younger children.
  • Make a time and place for reading in your home. For instance, ask your child to read at least a half an hour a night before bedtime.
  • Make regular family visits to the public library or local bookstore.
  • Encourage talking about reading in your family.
  • Set a good example--let your child see you reading!
Talking to a Child About Reading
  • Be a reading role model in your home. Be seen reading books. Talk about books; talk about school; talk about current events. Engage your child in thinking and discussion.
  • Have your child read aloud to you to gauge his/her reading level, and talk to your child about what type of reading he/she is interested in. Remind your child that reading includes the newspaper, magazines, non-fiction books, comics, Internet articles, game directions, etc.
  • Provide your child with good books, appropriate to his/her ability and interests. Visit the library, book stores, garage sales . . . anywhere you can find books!
  • Make reading a habit in your home, half an hour (at least!) at night before bed in a quiet, comfortable environment.
  • Partner read with your child: you read to your child; then have your child read to you.
  • Ask your child to read independently; then talk about his/her reading. Start by asking your child to read a favorite passage he/she has just read.
  • Consider the following as your child reads: Is he/she smooth? Expressive? Comprehending what he/she reads? Thinking about the reading? Reading often enough? Selecting books appropriate to reading level?
  • To check for understanding, begin a reading conference with your child like this: "Tell me about the book you're reading." "What do you think about the book so far? Why?"
  • Encourage your child to continue. "What character are you most interested in? Why?" "What situation have you been most interested in so far? Why?" "What does this book make you think about? Why?" The goal is to show your child how to think about a book and how to discuss it with others.Give your child practice at predicting outcomes: "What do you think will happen next?"
  • Help your child to reflect and goal set: "How are you doing with this book?" "When do you think you will complete it?" Ask, "What do you think you'll read next?" if the child is close to finishing a book.
  • You may find that your child really doesn't like a book and is not making progress. If your child has not switched books too often without finishing, encourage him/her to abandon this book and find another. Children who love to read will learn to read!
  • Show appreciation: "Thanks for sharing your book with me. I learn about a lot of great books this way!"
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