Even if your child is motivated to read, supporting her with a variety of ways and options will keep her momentum going. Here are seven tips to open up the wonderful world of reading for your child.
1. What’s “Just Right”? Children feel confident and competent when they read books that are “just right.” But how do you find a “just right” book? Have your child read the back and front cover, and the first page of the book. If there are more than five words that he cannot pronounce or understand in context, the book may be too challenging. Be supportive about finding a more perfect fit. Choosing the right book will help your little reader feel successful.
2. Map it Out. It’s important to provide your children with a variety of fiction and non-fiction reading. A fun way to do this is to get a map and show her the way from your house to the grocery store or another familiar destination. Have your child write out the directions, street by street, and then read them to you as you walk or drive to the store – like a living GPS!
3. Card Tricks. Do you think effective reading only takes place at libraries and bookstores? Think again! There are reading opportunities everywhere. Go to a greeting card store with your child and read the greeting cards together. Later, vote for the ones whose words convey the best birthday wish or get-well sentiment.
4. Picture This! During your next outing or gathering, take action-packed photos, then have your child create captions to go with each picture. Assemble the pictures and captions in a picture book or album, and add speech and thought bubbles to create a personalized — and probably hysterical — graphic novel.
5. Last Comic Standing. Take time to read comic strips together. Share favorites from your own childhood and have your child put his favorites on the fridge. Read them aloud, and often — repetition is a great way to build reading skills. Soon, he’ll love looking forward to the “Sunday funnies” each week.
6. Become a Fan. Your reader will soon develop a love for particular authors and illustrators. Nurture her fan-ship by helping her write a letter to her favorite author. Many authors have their own websites with contact information. You can also contact the book’s publisher, the mailing address for which can often be found on the back of the title page or on the publisher’s website.
7. Labels of Love. Word recognition and vocabulary are important parts of reading. On a rainy day, get some paper and tape and start labeling everything in your home- from furniture to small knick-knacks. Reading these labels repeatedly will build your child's mental word bank. If your family is bilingual, create labels in both languages.