Whether your child loves to read, or may be a bit more hesitant, it’s never too late to help them become super readers! Consider these five tips to help develop your child’s super reading skills.
1. Spend time reading together
Many kids, especially young children, prefer being in a social setting for their activities, and reading time is no exception. So, spending time together, while family members are all reading their own books or reading the same book together, is preferable to kids being relegated to their own rooms to read by themselves. For kids who struggle with reading, in particular, they need encouragement and support to not only pick up a book, but to attempt to read it as well. The important thing for parents to do is assure kids that reading, like other skills, can be challenging to master, takes practice, but will be enjoyable and rewarding. Kids also need to feel their parent’s excitement and passion for reading, and especially, for reading with them.
2. Allow them to pick their own books
Part of the joy of reading, even as an adult, is the promise of escaping into another world through reading. It’s important that we allow our kids to pick the types of books they’re interested in to help foster their love of reading. At the same time, though, it is important for parents to expose them to a variety of genres and topics from which they can choose something that peaks their interest,
Does your daughter dream of going to the moon? Does your son love to cook? Making a list of topics that your kids are curious about can help both of you select books that they may love sharing with you.
3. Create a conversation
How often do we, as adults, say, “That reminds me of something I’ve read?” Books can be a bridge between individuals or between groups of people.
Those bridges develop through conversations about shared experiences from books we’ve read or ideas we’ve shared from those books. Encourage your kids to talk about the books they’re reading, either at dinner time, during car rides or just while hanging out together. Engage the entire family in specific topics related to those books. Make reading part of your everyday discussion, and it will be easier for your kids to get more engaged in the reading process. They’ll also begin to see how reading can help them to build or strengthen relationships.
4. Reading for rewards
Not every child will need encouragement to read. Some kids will develop their reading super powers, you’ll have more of a challenge getting the book out of their hands than putting one in.
But, for some hesitant readers, consider a reward system which can help motivate your child to create the habit of reading. The concern should also be less about the quantity of books read, and more about integrating reading, for a specific amount of time, into our everyday schedules. Once you get your child settled into that routine, reading will become an activity that is practiced regularly, and the skills will begin to build. Celebrate their wins as they progress, focusing not only on the skill improvement, but also on the creation of a valued family activity.
5. Incorporate Assistive Technology
For children that may struggle with reading, using technology may encourage them to practice their reading. There are some wonderful online, free tools available (assuming your kids have access to a computer or tablet) to help with their reading.
· Bookshare – An accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Books are available in audio format, large print, or braille.
· NaturalReader is a free text to speech application. Kids can copy and paste or upload a document and then read along with the text as it’s read.
· Rewordify will simplify text to make it easier to understand. Kids can paste text or a web address into the tool and, it will provide easier text in its place.
There are many other ways to help your kids become super readers. The key is really about supporting them in whatever way works best for them. It’s about ensuring that reading is an exploration into their curiosity which ultimately becomes a valued and enjoyable activity and not a chore.