As a preschool teacher, parents often ask me how they can help their children learn to read. Reading and understanding what we read are some of the complex things we do as humans. It’s no surprise then that so many children struggle to develop this important literacy skill. Luckily, if you are a parent of a child who is struggling to read, there are various things you can do at home to make your child a better reader and make reading easier for your child.
Here are some practical tips I recommend to parents that will help their preschoolers become good readers.
Talk to your child as much as you can
When I tell a parent to talk to their child, they look surprised. Speak to them about their eyes, ears, nose, little fingers, mouth and hair. Tell them about mommy and daddy, siblings if they have any, grandma and grandpa. Talk to them about what they do from sleeping, eating, bathing to yawning. Reading is a language activity, so if you want them to learn to read it, they had better hear about it and finally speak it. I know it feels weird talking to your child when they can barely respond, but exposing them to a wide range of words helps to develop their literacy levels.
Read to your kids
You probably have heard this, especially if your child is a preschooler. Reading a book for your child is an excellent way to enhance their literacy skills. Reading books to children exposes them to richer vocabulary than they hear from the adults who interact with them. To get the best books for your kid’s level, visit your local library.
Reward your child for reading
If you promise your child time to play their favorite video game after they have finished reading, you can be sure your child will give reading a chance, even if the text may seem difficult. Children will read challenging texts if they know there is a reward for doing so.
If you promise to reward your child for reading, ensure you help them as they read. You may ask the child to read aloud to you or ask them questions after they have finished reading the text silently.
Let your kid know that you are ready to assist them with the hard to read words. Children with a low self-esteem when it comes to reading may pretend to know so that they do not feel defeated by a difficult book. If you support your son or daughter, they will stop feeling less intimidated by texts and eventually will not need to be rewarded for reading.
Make reading a routine in your home
Make reading a routine in your home, and your children will look forward to it. I make my kids stay for 30 minutes before bedtime to read. Sometimes, over the weekends, I take them to the local library to read. I know I am doing my best to make them better readers. Choose a time when everyone in your home puts away all their electronic devices and reads. Make it fun as well. If your kids read a book that has been made into a movie, make some popcorn and watch the film together. This is to make reading a fun activity that everyone in the family looks forward to.
Technology makes learning interactive and enjoyable. So it’s important to invest in the best age appropriate reading software that exposes your children to new words, stories, ideas, and skills. You can use your e-reader to download some books for yourself and children. Technology can make learning new ideas seem less strenuous to their younger minds.
Great reading habits are nurtured both at home and at school. The above strategies will help your child become a better reader. Besides, if you suspect your child has a learning disability that makes learning challenging, consult a professional on the best ways to support your son or daughter.