I believe that strong literacy skills are the cornerstone of our education system. Without properly developed reading and comprehension skills, children invariably begin to struggle around grade four, when textbooks become such a key feature of classroom learning. But how can we, as parents, encourage and nurture our children to become strong and capable readers? Oxford Learning, the tutoring company that developed the Little Readers program, has some suggestions that will help!
Here are some tips from Oxford Learning’s educational experts to help instill a love of reading in your children:
- Take children to the library. As a family, go to the library every weekend.
- Get kids their own library card. Even if your children only go to the library with you, give them their own library card. Having a library card gives children a sense of ownership and a sense of investment in their reading choices. It’s something they own—a marker of participation.
- Ask for a commitment. Ask your children, “What are you going to read this week?” Once they’ve made a commitment, reading becomes something they do for themselves.
- Read together. Set an example for your children. Grab a book or a newspaper and join them when they read.
- Talk about books. Ask questions about their reading, whether at the dinner table, in the car, or when lounging around. Get kids to talk about what they’re reading to inspire active thinking about reading.
- Ask older kids to read to younger kids. Reading out loud is an important skill in its own right, but it’s also an opportunity to bring siblings together, and to get older children in the habit of explaining in clear and simple language what they’re reading.
- Limit screen time. Balance media consumption with reading time. Books are recreations as much as video games, surfing the Internet, or watching TV. Variety and balance is key.
- Don’t rush. Let kids read at their own pace.
While many parents might not realize it, children as young as three years old have the capacity to read. Encouraging the development of essential reading skills is one of the best ways to ensure your child’s academic success and with a little effort, learning to read can be a very enjoyable experience for both you and your child!