Monday, September 10, 2007

Read 20 Minutes Every Day With Your Child!

Learning to read is hard work for children (especially age 5 and older). Fortunately, there are things we can do to help raise good readers. Reading with a child for 20 minutes every day dramatically improves their ability to read. (Most parents do not ever read to their children!) AND the best part is you can begin from BIRTH -- never consider a child too young to begin, nor too old. Some of the greatest family bonding times can come from family read-alouds too.

Here are some simple things you can do to help create a strong reader.

  • Be fun and creative, animate the story by using character voices and dramatics
  • Ask questions as you read, so they can think beyond just the words they hear
  • Relate stories to your child's life, are they the same or different, what would they do, etc.
  • Re-read your child's favorite books, they're learning from them again and again!
  • Run your finger along the words as you read, this shows we read from left to right.
  • Let your children turn the pages, involve them in the process
  • Select stories that use repeated phrases. Rhymes help teach word endings and build confidence, let them finish the phrases.
  • Subscribe to a children's magazine and enjoy it together
  • Get a library card for your child. They love to check out their own books.
  • Ask your librarian for a recommended (age appropriate) book list.
  • Fill your home with books (studies have shown there is a direct correlation to adult illiteracy was connected to the number of books in their homes as children)
  • Be a reading role model. Why should they read, if they don't ever see you enjoying books. Share your excitement of a story you're reading.
  • Tell stories to your child, allow their minds to imagine the people, places, times and circumstances.
  • Ask them to review (narrate) the story back to you. Helps with building memory, sequencing and other valuable learning skills.
  • When planning a family vacation. Read books that describe the history of the destination, or stories of the different modes of travel you will take to get there. Get stories that are set in those places and then while there have the children see if they can locate any landmarks that were read about before the trip. Historical fiction is also a fun way to learn too!
adapted from a bookmark put out by the sponsors of "Read With A Child": Zion's Bank, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bonneville International, and Governor's Literacy Commission (Utah)