Help your child become a lifelong reader. Research tells us that children learn to read by practicing. Reading is the primary way a child gains a wide vocabulary and is highly related to success in every academic area. I recommend that your child read aloud a minimum of 15 minutes per day. In addition, please read to your child for at least another 10 minutes each day. Hopefully, the time reading at home will be even more than this minimum. Included below are some tips on how to make the most of your time reading together.
- Pick a time when you can devote your full attention to your child. It may be before dinner, during bath time, or at bedtime; these uninterrupted few minutes are important.
- Take time to talk about the cover of the book before you start to read. Point out the author and the illustrator and discuss what those terms mean. Ask your child to predict what the story is about on the basis of the cover illustration and refer back to those predictions as you read.
- Be dramatic! The more enthusiasm you display, the more your child will enjoy the book.
- Help your child connect print to speech by pointing to words in the text as you read.
- Encourage your child to ask questions about the story and take time to ask questions as you read.
- When you finish reading, talk about the story. Then ask your child to tell the story in his or her own words.
- Read your child’s favorite books over and over. Studies show that each time a child listens to the same story, new kinds of learning take place. When your child knows the book by heart, let him “read” it to you.
- Most importantly, enjoy this special activity. Reading together will become a happy, comfortable routine that will open the door to discussions about your child’s thoughts and concerns.