As an elementary school principal and parent I am very interested in helping children with reading. I have heard on the radio and read in several places about the importance of reading to children from the time they are very young. Once they go to school formal reading instruction begins, however, as parents we can and should continue to help our sons and daughters in this area.
Here are a few ways we can do this:
- Continue to read to your child even though they are starting to read for themselves.
- Make books available to them by purchasing them on sales, through book orders or taking trips to the public library.
- Build some reading time into their daily schedule. 20 minutes of reading before going to sleep can be a great routine.
- Let your children see you reading whether it is for work or enjoyment.
- Ask your child what they are reading and take an interest in it.
Once students get to be good readers making reading available and interesting to your child can become more difficult. Finding books about subjects they enjoy is sometimes hard to do, but one thing that will get them interested is technology. For the last couple of years our Cooper Elementary fourth graders have been allowed to bring their electronic devices to school for the purpose of reading. Kids love electronics and if you make e-books or other downloaded reading materials accessible they will read. I really enjoy being able to walk into a classroom and see students excited about reading on their device and being able to ask them about it. We can do the same thing with our kids at home.
These are simple and easy suggestions that have been helpful to my family and I have seen work for others. The more children practice, the better they will become at reading and comprehending what they have read. Being able to read at a high level will help our children in all facets of their education and life. We as parents owe it to them to do whatever we can to help.
Below are some websites that will give you more ideas and strategies you can use with your young readers.
- Reading strategies for parents: www.paec.org/david/reading/parents.pdf
- Strategies for reading comprehension: http://www.readingquest.org/strat/