How do children learn to read?
How do you raise your child to be a reader?
The process of learning to read is a mystery to most parents. We can read but have few (if any) memories of how we learned to read. We know learning to read is one of the most important steps are young children will take toward success in school and life. We want to help but we don't know how. There are five simple ways you can help make your child a reader and you can start with young toddlers or use these techniques with preschoolers. In fact, these skills can also be used to support school age children who are learning to read.
One important way you can teach your child that reading is important is to model reading.
Show your child that you value reading by experiencing printed material whether it is books, magazines or newspapers. Children often imitate their parents so you certainly want to show them (as well as tell them) that reading is important and fun.
Probably the most important step in helping your child become a reader is by reading to your child every day.
You should make reading to your child a part of your regular daily routine but also include spontaneous opportunities as well. Not only will these moments draw you closer to your child and provide lasting memories but you are also giving your child benefits that will impact their entire life.
Exploit your child's interests to create an interest in books.
If your child is interested in horses or dinosaurs then check books on those topics out of the library or buy them for the child's personal library. Make sure the books have lots of pictures and be willing to read them over again.
Have fun with words and books.
Many children's books are written (and illustrated) to tickle a child's funny bone. Exploit those and seek out funny songs and poems as well for more word play. While learning to read is serious business that does not exclude fun from the process. The more fun your child has with reading and books then the more eager they will be to learn to read.
Finally, show your child that books contain useful and interesting information. When your child asks a question about the world then use that question as the focus for your next library visit and look up a book about Pueblo Indians or fruit bats or whatever.
You can help your child learn to read by modeling reading, reading to your child, exploiting your child's interests, having fun with words, and showing that books contain answers.