Reading is vital to academic confidence and achievement, often predicting future personal and career success. While telling children of all ages, repeatedly nagging children, to read can be counterproductive, teaching children to love reading, to appreciate books, can be life-altering. 

Avid readers have greater empathy, stronger relationships, a greater ability to concentrate, and are more imaginative. Some research indicates that reading to young children, from the time that they can sit up by themselves, exposes them to richer vocabulary and can positively impact early language development, intellect, and later literary achievement. 

As your child grows, there are many ways that you can foster a love of books and reading. Here are 5 suggestions:

1 – Listen to your child read. Reading out loud builds fluency, comprehension, and confidence. As soon as your child starts decoding words, have him/her read out loud to you. This process will also enable parents to identify any potential needs that students might have, especially regarding potential decoding deficiencies. Research shows that it is important for parents to read with their children even after they become fluent decoders. 

2 – Make reading a regular family activity. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, gather the family together, have each person bring a book, and read together. Promoting this togetherness, making reading a bonding experience for everyone, will encourage children to embrace reading. It will become part of their routine, a source of comfort. Children will become lifelong readers if reading becomes a regular, enjoyable part of your family’s routine. 

3 – Be a reading role model. When your child sees you watching television all of the time, your child will think it’s appropriate to watch television all of the time. When your child watches you eat vegetables, your child will think everyone eats vegetables. So, when your child sees you read, your child is more likely to read. A child who is surrounded by readers, whether that is parents, friends, siblings, or teachers, is more likely to immerse him/herself in reading. Moreover, you can foster your child’s interest in reading by taking him/her to the library regularly so that he/she can be surrounded by books. 

4 – Don’t just read the book, discuss the book. The best part of reading a book is talking about it afterwards. Discuss your favorite parts of the story. Ask a lot of questions. Try to touch on the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why,” and “how” of each story. Start simple, with “Who was your favorite character?” Work your way to discussing themes and the moral of the stories. Consider starting a book club so that your children can engage in reading and discussions about books with other children. When you keep the conversations about books going, your child will become more invested in every book he/she reads. 

5 – Leverage technology. Many children already have tablets, e-readers, or laptops. Since your child is familiar with these platforms, they can easily be used to promote reading. Show your child where to find online articles, how to search for books he/she might enjoy. And integrate a dictionary into your child’s reading app, so that when your child uncovers a new word, he/she can easily look it up. Check out these reading apps for preschool and elementary school aged children that will provide your child with an interactive reading experience.

Don’t focus on what your child is reading, just make sure that he/she is engaged. With so many wonderful children’s books, your child should be able to find something of interest.

If you find that your child is struggling with reading, contact GAMECHANGER to work with a certified reading specialist.