At home, cultivate a joy of learning and joy of reading—you are the most important influence and role model for your children in this way! Encourage your children to choose reading as an activity when you have free time—turn off the TV and the videogames.
When going on a car trip or will be at a doctor’s office/DMV waiting, encourage them to bring a book with them and not play a videogame (and you bring a book too!). Overall, encourage and model literacy and not technology!
Be aware that your own attitude toward reading is most significant in the development of your child’s attitudes toward reading. Therefore, you need to examine the value and priority you place on reading in your daily life. How can you convey the enjoyment of reading to your children if you are not a lifelong reader yourself?
Talk to your children about what they are reading. Discuss books, articles, and other materials that YOU have read with your children. By sharing your enjoyment as well as the usefulness of the reading materials, you will convey to your students the significant role that reading plays in your life.
Be a “reading” role model. During children’s sustained silent reading time, you should read too, rather than housework, talk on phone, etc. Your children can then observe for themselves the value you place on reading. All types of reading materials count–books, newspapers, reading for work, magazines, etc.
Build a family-wide positive attitude toward reading. Go to the library, book stores, daily sustained silent reading, combination of silent reading and reading together.
I don’t like to buy books but think it is important that your child has access to a lot of books—library, Goodwill, Community Thrift Store, book swap with friends.
Not only is reading aloud to your child still important, it’s also important that he has a chance to practice his own reading. Being able to read smoothly means that children don’t have to work so hard to understand what they read. Be sure to spend time listening to your child read out loud. Reading the same section several times helps your child practice reading more smoothly.
Vocabulary development—encourage your child to stop when they come to a word they do not know the meaning of—teach them how to use context clues to figure out its meaning, or to use a dictionary or Google. Try to remember the words you teach them and use them or point them out when appropriate at other times to reinforce learning.
Have them write a response to their reading—book report, use two new words in sentences, summarize the story (who, what, when, where, why of the book), would they recommend the book to others and why? They can keep a reading journal
Keep reading fun by finding materials that are interesting to your children—comic books, cookbooks, books on subjects they are interested in. If you are going on a vacation to visit family in Florida over Spring Break, go to the library and get a travel book on Florida, read about its history, study the map with them and read about cities you will pass on the way, get a book on Florida animals, etc. Read brochures together.
Read a cookbook together, pick out a recipe and make it together—it is another application of reading and family fun to cook together. You can even work in some math along the way with measurements. You also have a finished product that you can be proud of!
If your child enjoys the outdoors, get books from the library on the outdoors. If you are going to the beach, get a book on marine life, the ocean and tides, or seashells.
Next, look for books that are easy for your child to read. This is especially important for kids who may have difficulties with reading. If you purchase a book that is difficult for them to read they may get frustrated and this will turn them off to reading completely. Be sure to encourage them when they try to read especially if they make mistakes. Help them in a kind manner and praise them for trying. This praise and encouragement will help them get excited over reading and really boost their self confidence.
How do you know what reading level your child is on or what book to get him/her? During the school year, your teacher should be able to tell you what their reading level is through STAR reader, etc. There are online resources to help pick out appropriate books for your child, or ask the librarian, or check bookstore webpages. You can also pick up a book and if the child struggles with more than 3 or 4 words on a page, it is too difficult for them.
If you have a reluctant reader, plan for rewards for reading. First, reading in and of itself should be its reward—if you get excited and take interest, they will get more excited. Then give a tangible award. For example, if a book has been turned into a movie, read the book first and then as a reward, take them to see the movie. Enjoy!