When you’re with your child at home, there are easy things you can do to build their eagerness to read – which will in turn support their academic reading success. The more your child learns to reach for books at home, the more likely they will be to be engaged in their class material and titles they’re reading with their teacher.
Here are four tips teachers recommend for getting your child engaged with reading.
1. Connect Kids With the Author
Remind your child that someone took the time to write a book, thought about the characters and setting, and even had kids like them in mind while creating it! This will help your little reader feel like an insider with exclusive knowledge.
“I like to share some facts about the author before I read a book,” says Kathy Sahagian, a first-grade teacher in California. “For example, Peter Reynolds has a bookstore in Massachusetts, and he both writes and illustrates his own books!”
Sahagian also connects students with authors via Skype to rev up their excitement, but there are simpler ways you can help your child learn about authors at home: Do a Google search together, read articles about the author, and write a letter to the author together if they accept fan mail.
2. Don’t Get Too Caught Up in Reading Levels
First and foremost, find books that interest your child. If you notice they get particularly engaged by books about animals, stock up on several books about different critters, like The Wonky Donkey or Down By the Cool of the Pool.
“It’s important to hook the reader, because once you establish that, a child will want to read on their own,” says Sahagian. “Don’t worry about levels or if a book is too easy.”
Your child’s teacher will help to make sure they’re reading on level in class. At home, focus on sparking their love of books and interest in exploring new topics.
3. Expose Kids to Different Genres
The more books your child has access to, the more likely they are to get excited about a given title.
“I try to have a diverse library so that students will be able to see themselves in the books that they read,” says Kelly Matthews, a fourth-grade teacher in Colorado. “I also choose different book genres and even find books that end with a cliffhanger. This way, students will clamor for more and read the next book.”
4. Find a Series They Connect With
“My number one tip is to find a series,” says Matthews. “Many reluctant readers will read series books because the characters are comfortable to them, and when they start a new book, a lot of the heavy work is done because there is crossover from one book to the next.”
It can also be helpful to dive into a series together as a family. Provide your child with book options, but let them make the final decision — and then show your own excitement about the title they’ve chosen!
“When parents get involved in reading with their child, kids are more likely to look forward to spending that time with their parent and associate reading as a special family activity,” says Matthews.
To get started, shop engaging series for all ages below! You can find more books and activities at The Scholastic Store.