There are no two ways about it; reading is an essential facet of your child’s intellectual and emotional development. Robust reading ability will not only help your child through the early stages of life but also contribute to potential success later on in life too; therefore, paying attention to this vital skills from a young age is undoubtedly worthwhile. Before we look at steps, you can implement to facilitate reading skills in your child, let’s take a brief look at how reading can benefit your child:
– Reading will teach your child new words and enhance their grasp on language, which, in turn, will boost their language association skills and their core understanding of the fundamentals of language.
– Reading improves your child’s ability across all subjects, not just those related to literacy.
– Reading and listening to stories will help your child to understand concepts of judgement, logic and relationships.
– Reading will improve their ability to concentrate and increase their attention span.
If like most parents, you’re keen to boost your child’s reading and literacy skills, you’ve certainly come to the right place. In today’s article, we’re going to use our expert knowledge to provide you with six top tips that you can use to improve your child’s reading skills – even from a very young age.
Six Steps to Improving Reading Ability in Children
1. Establish a Routine
Scientific research suggests that allocating a set period of time on a daily basis specifically for reading can significantly enhance their reading skills in a plethora of areas, such as vocabulary skills, reading comprehension, learning new words, and recognising and practising words they’re already familiar with. This can be started from a very young age – even before they’re able to speak or truly understand what is happening. Begin by incorporating story time each day or night. This will help storytime/reading to become a regular daily occurrence, which they will hopefully continue once they begin to read.
Once they arrive at that stage, you can gradually shift reading responsibilities to your child as their grans of the English language, and overall reading ability improves. Doing so will encourage them to read a book without your help, but also in an environment where you’re there to provide assistance should they need to ask you how to pronounce a certain word that is difficult or unfamiliar.
2. Regular Reading
This is linked to point number one above, but deserves a section all of its own. Although there are a myriad of methods that can be employed to encourage your child to read, we’ll focus on two techniques that we feel are most effective. Firstly, ensure that books are available in every room of your home. Have shelves and baskets full of reading material scattered throughout each room; make it easy for them to find a book. And secondly, lead by example! A child’s ultimate role model is their Mom and/or Dad; therefore, they are likely to emulate your behaviour whenever they can. If you child sees your enjoying a book prior to bed every night, they’re likely to want to imitate you and do the same. Furthermore, when they become aware that you read for pleasure, they’ll realise that reading isn’t just about learning and can be fun as well!
3. Find Books They Love
Children are just like adults – they want to do things they like! This applies to reading as well. Would you want to read a book you didn’t have any real interest in? Of course, you wouldn’t – and nor will your child. If your child appears uninterested in reading, it may not actually be because they’re not a fan of reading, they may just not enjoy the books that they have. If you find yourself in this position, think about what your child likes and buy books related to that particular thing or subject. It may take a while to find the right book(s), but you’ll get there eventually!
Science fiction, mysteries, and adventure are typically popular choices for young girls and boys with active imaginations. If your child has a preference for animals and wildlife, space or another specific subject, buy them books related to that topic.
4. Here Is More To Reading Than Books
Although books are clearly crucial to improving a child’s reading ability, they aren’t the be-all and end-all. Not all children who are reluctant to read can be encouraged (or persuaded!) to read books. However, if you do find that your child doesn’t appear to have much interest in books, don’t worry – there are a multitude of other options available to you (and them). Remember, the world is full of opportunities to read! Let’s take a look at a few examples:
– If your son or daughter asks you to go to the cinema to watch a movie, ask them to find out what time(s) the movie is on. This could work for something similar, like a bus timetable, for example.
– If your child likes to help out in the kitchen, allow them to choose which meal they’d like to make and have them read out the recipe to you. Plus, if you decide to alter the recipe in way, shape or form, they can help you do this too!
– Ask them to read everyday life things to you – road signs, the weather forecast, shop opening times, emails, letters, notes – anything and everything!
By integrating reading into other activities that you child loves, you will show them how essential reading is in everyday life, which will hopefully encourage them to continue to improve their reading skills – even if they’re still not keen on reading books.
5. Stay Involved
Although teachers do a stellar job of facilitating and improving the development of our children, it is imperative that you remain actively involved with your child’s reading. Why? Because even though teachers do a fine job, they may not always be aware that a child is falling behind – particularly as some children will go to great lengths to hide this to avoid embarrassment.
The key here is to stay involved with the progress and step in before any serious problems arise. By monitoring your child’s reading development on a weekly basis, you’ll be able to see how well they’re doing and if there are any particular areas they’re having trouble with. Take time to read books and stories with your child and use those moments of shared reading to see if they are struggling to pronounce certain words or lack understanding of meaning and context.
If you are concerned that your child’s reading abilities are not where they should be, contact their teacher and arrange a meeting to discuss your thoughts. This will help you to understand their teacher’s views on their reading skills as well as discussing what action can be taken to address any gaps in your child’s learning and current abilities.
6. Every Child is Different
Although this may seem like a very obvious thing to state, as a parent, it is often very easy to become frustrated with your child apparent lack of “sufficient progress”, even if, in reality, they are learning at an adequate pace for their age-group.
Comparing children is 100% natural; however, if you eldest child could read by the age of five and a half, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your youngest child will develop at the same speed – and, most importantly, nor should you expect them to. Each child’s grey matter is wired slightly differently; therefore, the rate at which they progress will differ also. The information contained in this post is aimed at instructing you how to nurture and improve the reading skills and abilities of your child, i.e. by using techniques and methods that are in your control. The trap you must avoid falling into is thinking that you can control everything, such as the rate at which your child develops. It is an entirely natural process and must be merely guided, not forced, in the right direction for optimal results.
Reading is a major component of your child’s ability to learn and develop, which is inextricably linked with comprehension, language, spelling skills, literacy – and future success. Never be afraid to ask for help, but be aware that there are plenty of things you can do to encourage and accelerate their reading abilities throughout their childhood.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog; we really appreciate your time and hope you found this article informative and helpful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!