Helping your child develop a life-long love for learning may be one of the best gifts parents can give to a child. It is important for parents to know that they are possibly the most influential in teaching children to love learning and become life-long readers. A child that develops a love for reading has a greater advantage over their peers that do not develop the same passion.
How can you help your child develop good reading habits at a young age? Here are some tips to make learning and reading fun:
- Read to your child. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for your child to read with parents, teachers, grandparents, siblings, and any other care-providers. When a child hears an adult read, it models good reading for a child. They may begin to recognize the fluxion in one’s voice when they read aloud. Even children that know how to read can benefit from this modeling.
- Be a good example. It is important to show your children that you love learning and reading. Keep a lot of reading material around the house. Turn off the electronics, television, music, and put down the video games. Having a designated reading time for the whole family is a great habit to start. You can read together, have discussions about what your child is reading, and even read the same book as your child. You can teach your child through your own love of reading and learning.
- Take your love for reading on the road. Reading does not stop in the classroom. There are always opportunities to read in the car, on vacation, on a walk, out to dinner. Even recognizing logos and symbols are a part of literacy. Talk to your child about the meanings of signs and symbols around town. Read business signs together. Your child can read with you, even when you forget your books at home. Signs and symbols are like having your own set of flash cards on the go!
- Make sure there is always fresh reading material that is an appropriate level for your child. Your child needs to have a part in choosing interesting literature for themselves; however, you can help your child choose material that is appropriate for their age and reading level. It is important that children not become frustrated by learning, thus losing their love for reading. You can visit the local library and ask the librarian to point you to the right books for your child. Don’t forget about magazines and catalogs—they are great sources for your child. You can subscribe your child to magazines that fit your child’s interest and they will look forward to a new issue each month.
- Buy books on tape OR check them out at the library. Using other media that engages all the senses is helpful in encouraging reading. A child can listen to the book on tape and follow along with the story. Teach your child to track the words with their finger, as they hear the story being read.