Are you interested in Raising a Reader?
Every parent wants their child to become a proficient reader. All of our children learn to read in their own time. Many parents are not quite sure HOW to get them to read. I’ll be sharing the 5 easiest ways to get your child reading. Many children make a general progression from listening to talking –>to learning their letters –>to rhyming –> to how books work –>reading.
In graduate school, I remember watching a video of the professor’s daughter “reading” in her crib. Honestly, I just thought it was because she was the professor’s child and must be very smart. Little did I know that my own children would develop a love for books, sleep with them, and treat the like a security blanket. Fast forward 15 years … I have my own 2 children and have worked with hundreds of students, I’ve actually seen these ideas work!
——–> If you’ve read this far, I know you’re interested in raising a reader. I’m glad; however, after all is said and done, the best thing you can do for your child is read to them. The biggest indicator of school success is READING.
Step #1: Talk! Talk! Talk!
I love this one because it’s something you’re doing already! Your child will learn so much just from listening to you speak. Just by having a conversation with you they increase their vocabulary, learn how to use words, and most importantly recognize sounds. Talking also allows children to understand stories and relate them to their own experiences.
Goal: Surround your child with language through talking, singing, stories, and audio books.
1. Make Up Your Own Stories – tap into your child’s active imaginations. Princesses! Trains! Tell stories about their day or when they were little. They love stories where they are the main character.
2. Audio Books – This is great for rest time, long car rides, down-time at home, or just when you’re too tired to talk. Audio books allow children to hear books above their reading level. Bonus: Children have increased vocabulary when they listen to stories. For a detailed list of great audio books by age, click here.
3. Write Your Own Book – It’s really not that complicated. Take a story you’ve made up or an event you shared together and put it on paper. Illustrate it together or add real photographs. We’ve done counting books, vacations, and special events (like when we went to see Thomas the Train). This activity demonstrates what the spoken word looks like written on paper.
Mom Tip: While talking is important, so is rest. Quiet Time is a must (no electronics). Children need to give their brains a break so they can process everything they’re learning. Plus it’s healthy for the mom’s brain too!
Step #2: Learn the ABC’s
Have you ever wondered how to get your child to sing the alphabet song without an “ele-men-o” (L-M-N-O) in it? Explore the alphabet together: sing, recite, chant, point, and play with the alphabet. The easiest place to start is with your child’s most important word, their name.
Goal: The foundation of reading is understanding “What is a Letter?”
1. Hands on Learning – Feel the letters (magnetic or puzzle pieces) or make them out of clay. Draw letters in the sandbox, in the bathtub, on the sidewalk or use stencils.
2. Learn Your Name – Your child’s name is the most meaningful word to them. It will probably be the first word they learn to spell and read. Learning their name is the launching pad for learning more letters.
- Sing B-I-N-G-O: There was a mom who had a girl and Mary was her name-o. M-A-R-Y, M-A-R-Y, M-A-R-Y and Mary was her name-o!
- Name Art: Write out your child’s name and let them decorate it with their snack or make a permanent one and glue buttons to it.
- Who Am I? book – This is an easy to make Family Name book. Click here for directions.
3. Easiest Way – Last but not least, click here for more information on the Letter Factory DVD.
Step #3: Rhyme Time
Rhyming is hearing the sounds in words. Playing with words (rhyming) through poems, rhymes, and songs help children achieve verbal fluency.
Goal: Recognizing vowel sounds helps children spell and read common words.
1. Rhyme Away – Fill in the Blanks of your favorite rhyme. Humpty Dumpty sat on a _____. Dr. Jean music and songs are fabulous too.
2. Poetry – So many of our children are nor familiar with classic nursery rhymes and poems. Find something that you enjoy and read it to them.
3. Sing and Chant – Make up your own chants: “Bobby, Bobby he’s our man, if he can’t do it no one can!” They love it!
Step #4: Be a Book Buddy
Did you know that a parent reading to a child is the single most important predictor of success? Reading to your child is one of the most special bonding activities you can share wit them. Books teach children about the world around them and develop their imagination.
Goal: Read a minimum of 20 minutes each day to your child.
1. Model what a reader looks like and sounds like – Your kids need to see you reading reading real books. E-books may be all the rage, but out kids just think we’re playing gams on them. Read real books, get out a magazine, read the newspaper. Just read.
2. How does a book work? Sit side-by-side with your child. Run your index tiger under the line of print. It simply helps them notice words and their meaning. Show them how to turn the pages, hold the book correctly, and how you read from left to right and top to bottom.
3. Library visits – Go visit your library. Want to get bonus points with the kids? Put their favorite books on hold (Thomas, Dora, Cars, Princesses, etc). When you show up to the library, all of their favorite books will be waiting for them.
4. Buy Books – Studies show that children become better readers when their are books in their home versus weekly trips to the library. Where to find books? Thrift stores, Consignment Sales, and used book stores.
Step #5: Read Anywhere, Anytime!
Never pass up the opportunity to read. We take for granted that words and letters are all around us. When your child can read the logo on their cereal box, it gives them the feeling that they are reading.
Goal: Read the STOP signs, the toy ads, the cereal boxes, the stores, the food… you get the idea. Don’t stop reading!
1. Turn your home into a Reading Zone – Stick labels on chairs, bathtubs, and closets. Read around the house with a special pointer or fly swatter. Kids love to actively read.
2. Grocery Store Reading – We love our grocery store book. It’s filled with fun box tops. We even snagged some boxes from our neighbor’s recycle too. To learn how to use the book, click here.
3. I Can Read – Make a little “I Can Read” poster for your child. Attach all of the toys and store brands they can read. Encourage them to refer it to it and read to family. A great party trick, but it really does encourage them.
Additional Ideas from Busy Kids Happy Mom
- Sight Words for the Home
- Audio Books
- Book Levels – The “Secret Guide” to understanding book levels for parents
- Handwriting Houses
- Handwriting Grip
- Tracing the Alphabet – powerful
- Pinterest: Busy Kids Happy Mom and Reading Writing Readiness
- Go Fish Guys – Great music that won’t drive parents bonkers!
- Dr. Jean – songs and activities for preschoolers
- Adventures in Odyssey – Bible audio stories for school age kids, check them out at your library.
Kristen is a Reading Specialist and generally does this as a presentation for parents and MOPS groups. Please use it as you see fit to help you teach your child to read.