How do I teach my child how to read? How do I get my child interested in reading? How do I make sure my child is reading daily? Is it important that I read to my child every day? How do I know the book my child is reading is at their age level?
If you’ve ever asked or thought about any of the questions above then you are in the right place. Helping a child navigate the world of reading can be stressful and hard for parents. It’s tough to know what the right thing to do is and if you’re doing enough.
Reading Reading Reading
Sure, the fundamentals of reading (phonics, short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds, blends…etc) are super important for children when they are learning and developing their reading. However, one of the main key things to do to help your child love, grow and succeed is to READ to them, READ with them and READ yourself.
Honestly, just read! Starting at a young age and even into teenage years, it’s extremely beneficial to read with your children. It helps develop language skills, social skills, vocabulary, communication skills, and brain development. Whether you read a book aloud to them, read it together or read separately and discuss later, all have a major impact on your child, regardless of their age!
Is my child reading the right level book?
There is no right answer here. In my opinion, let them pick out a book they’re interested in! Does it matter that its not the right AR code, or letter or word count? NO! If they are interested in it, encourage and let them read it. (of course, as long as it’s appropriate). Reading is so much more than AR points and reading at the right age level, it’s about loving what you’re reading and wanting them to come back for more. Would you rather they LOVE reading a book about sharks (that may be too hard or too easy for them) or them HATE reading a book about elephants (that’s at their AR level) and creating a rift with reading. It breaks my heart to hear a child say “Ugh, reading is so boring!!” It doesn’t have to be!
So, my advice, let them pick out what they’re interested in that they will enjoy! Take them to the library and let them roam (don’t worry about what age group they’re looking in) and let them explore and find what they love! It will be way more beneficial in the long run and will foster that life long love of reading!
Read Aloud To Your Child:
Read aloud to your child whether they are 2 or 16. Reading to your child at any age is extremely beneficial. For younger kiddos, it can help develop vocabulary, word recognition, language development and can be a major predictor in later reading success. For older children, it can help foster listening, communication, and comprehension skills. Also, it can help build a strong bond between you and your child. It also shows your child how important reading is to you and creates a positive model for your child. Reading aloud really is fun too!
Another great option for reading aloud to your children is audiobooks. Audiobooks allow you and your child to pick out a book to listen to and for an added bonus, you could also follow along in the book together while listening! Spending some great quality time together cuddling on the couch while listening/reading sounds like a perfect way to make memories and foster a love of reading!
If you’re considering audiobooks, Amazon has an amazing audiobook program called Audible where you can get a month free to try. We love it in our house and it’s a great option for reading aloud. Amazon also offers Freetime Unlimited for younger kiddos, where they can read and listen to unlimited stories, books, and play age-appropriate games! Both my boys have a kids kindle and have learned so much from Freetime! My son loves reading the Hot Wheels books on his kindle!
Read With Your Child:
Sitting down and reading a book with your child is also extremely beneficial! It shows them the value of reading and how important it is to you! It also, of course, has all the benefits of read-aloud while also allowing them to connect to the written text and learn the fundamentals of actually reading books. (how to hold a book, reading left to right, turning pages..etc).
For older children, you could read with your child by reading the same book and then discussing each chapter or talking about the book when you’re done! This fosters a deeper understanding while also encouraging discussion. I know after I read a good book, its always fun to share my thoughts and chat about what happened and my opinions!
It’s also so important in your house to have books readily available for your kiddos! Having books in an easily accessible space makes children more inclined to pick up a book, explore them and ask you to read it with them! There are so many great options for storing and showcasing books to kiddos in your house! In my house, we have a bookcase in each room and we also keep a bin of books beside each of my boys’ beds for bedtime reading. No matter where they go, there are books!
Here are some great options for book storage to encourage a love of reading!
Also, don’t worry if you don’t have many books! You can always head to your local library and borrow books for free! Also, check out your local thrift stores! Many people donate amazing books that are in great condition that you can purchase for less than a dollar!
If you’re not sure where your local library is, find one quickly here by typing in your local zipcode!
Reading yourself is so important because you are setting a positive example for your children and showing them how important reading is to you! Children copy and imitate so much of what they see! Trust me on this one, if they see their parents/caregivers reading and giving time to books, they will try it too! They value what you value!
Place your books on your end table, or beside your bed and SHOW your children how important reading is to you. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll want to be just like mommy and daddy!
How Often Should my Child Be Reading?
Everyday! I recommend encouraging reading every day! I personally wouldn’t set a time limit but I most definitely would encourage at least a few minutes of reading daily to establish the habit. Whether it is a few minutes before school starts in the morning, an hour after school, or 20 minutes before bedtime each day. Setting routines and consistently reading each day will grow your child’s reading abilities and most importantly their love for reading!
I hope this article helped answer some of your questions and most importantly helped convince you just how important reading is every day!