Learning to read can be fun. Here are some ideas for
reading with children at different levels that will accommodate and develop
Reading with Very Young Children
It’s never too early to read to your children.
It will help prepare them for reading on their own while instilling
a love of the written word. And including children in literacy-related
activities as early as possible will help them develop the necessary
skills for good communication.
Select books with simple, bold, and colorful shapes.
These books usually have one or two lines of print on a page and each
page has repeated phrases. Hearing words over and over helps children
become familiar with them.
Choose nursery tales, songs, and stories about
family life that have a simple sentence structure.
Let the child pretend to read the story. Allow
her to hold the book and turn the pages as the adult points to the pictures.
Make the story come alive by using different voices
and facial expressions. When a child hears different sounds, not only
does the story become more fun, but this also helps him develop critical
Children never get bored of hearing their favorite
books over and over again. They need to hear the repetition of language
to develop literacy skills.
Tips for the Beginner Reader
Parents are their children’s first teachers. We
have an important role to play in helping our children become better
readers. By reading to children several times a day, you can actually
make a positive impact on their future learning.
Provide a comfortable, secure-feeling reading space
for the child with easy access to books. A place with good lighting,
away from distractions, and with a variety of books is ideal.
Point to the words on the page as you read them.
This will teach the child that reading goes from left to right, and
will also help stimulate word recognition.
Engage in a dialogue with the child as you read,
encouraging her to read a page or paragraph to you from time to time.
(But if she is unable, simply take up the reading yourself.)
Make comparisons as the child reads. Comparing
and contrasting helps the child recognize relationships between events
and objects, and helps him notice similarities and differences.
After reading a story together, talk about the
events in the story. This will stimulate higher-order thinking as the
child tries to explain what happened in her own words.
Tips for Independent Readers
Research shows that there is a predictable reading
slump that happens at or around the grade four level. We often think
by this age that kids can read well enough on their own, but this is
when books start to get longer and words begin to get harder.
Do not stop reading aloud with children even when
they can read independently – just take turns sharing the role of narrator.
Encourage children to develop an interest in a
variety of genres such as adventure, mystery, fantasy, and poetry.
Keep in mind the more people your child sees and
hears reading – parents, siblings, relatives, friends – the more likely
your child will be turned on to reading.
Tips for Lifelong Readers
Engaging in literacy and learning is important at any
stage in life. Reading ability is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it
regularly, you can actually lose the ability. Here are some tips to keep
you and your children motivated to continue reading and learning for life:
Encourage older children to keep a journal to help
them hone their writing skills.
Encourage family members to read and discuss items
from the daily newspaper or a shared news website to keep up-to-date
on what is happening around the world.
Get in the habit of giving books or magazine subscriptions
as birthday gifts or on other special occasions.
Lead by example – exercise your mind by doing crossword
puzzles, word jumbles and word searches. Play board games, like Scrabble,
Boggle, or Bananagrams as a family as a way to develop your children's
vocabulary skills...and to have fun.