By the time your child has spent a few years in school, they should have a very basic grasp of how to read. They might not be able to read full-blown novels just yet, but they can at least read paragraphs and understand what they’re reading. However, there is always room for improvement. In this post, we share four tips on how to improve your child’s reading skills.
Disclaimer: This is a contributed guest post
Why Is Reading Such An Important Life Skill?
Developing a child’s reading skills should be a top priority for all parents. Reading is a skill that will help them throughout their life in many different ways. On a basic level, the better a child can read, the more they can learn. When your child can read multiple books, they can gain new information, understand new words, and so on. Children that struggle to read will end up developing at a much slower pace.
The problem is that schools like to move kids along at a similar pace. If your child is in third grade, they will read similar books to everyone in their class. This can mean that they’re often reading below a level that they’re capable of. As such, the responsibility falls on the parents to help their children get better at reading. This can all be done at home in your free time.
Here are some key tips on how to improve your child’s reading skills at home:
Get your child into a reading routine
A big issue with modern kids is that they just don’t bother reading things anymore. I mean, why would you when you can just sit watching YouTube and Netflix or playing Minecraft all day? By all means, engaging in other forms of media can also help your child learn and develop. Please don’t get into the habit of being a parent that forces them to live like the old days and not use any technology at all!
Nevertheless, it can help if you get your child into a reading routine. Sit with them at the same time each day to read a passage from a book. This could be before they go to bed, or it could be at any time that’s best for both of you. Gradually, they get into the habit of it and look forward to reading. Eventually, you stop reading with them, so they read on their own. Installing good habits can help them read more, which is always going to improve their skills.
Correct their mistakes
Every child is going to make mistakes as they start reading. When I was a kid, I know that I read words incorrectly and just went through my life thinking they were pronounced that way. This is why it’s good to get your child to read out loud to you now and then, so you can see if they are reading correctly or not. If you spot any mistakes, correct them and explain the right way to say things.
No matter how old your child is, they can always make a few common mistakes if they’ve never seen certain words or letter combinations before. There are easy ways to teach letter sounds to kids when they are little, which should help them with their general pronunciation. Unfortunately, the English language is a bit of a troll and can throw up words that sound absolutely nothing like they’re supposed to. In these instances, teaching your kids the right way to say weird words is the best. It can stick with them, so they remember them the next time they come up.
Let them choose their books
Another good tip is to go out with your kids and let them choose their own books. You can still go to traditional bookstores, and it’s always great taking a child there. Seeing physical copies of books can excite them more as it feels like a toy – or a possession that belongs to them.
Don’t pick books based on recommendations or what you think your child should read. Instead, let them choose. This lets them find books that interest and appeal to them. As a result, it helps with their reading schedule as they are more excited to read their book each day. If you get them a boring book, they won’t look forward to reading it. It becomes a chore that they hate, so they’ll never develop their skills. But, if you make it something that interests and excites them, they are more likely to read frequently and improve their skills.
Encourage other forms of reading
Why do we need to read? It’s not just because we want to read cool stories and escape into magical worlds. No, we need to read because it forms a massive part of everyday life. If your child struggles to read, they will struggle with basic tasks – like reading instructions on the back of a toy or reading questions in exams. Everyone needs to have a high level of reading prowess, and this doesn’t just come from reading books.
You should look to encourage your child to read things other than books – like everything around them. When you’re cooking, ask them to hand you something and read the instructions on the back. It’s a really easy way of getting them into the habit of reading without having to sit down with a book. If you want to go to the movies, ask them to see what’s showing and when. This is a double-whammy as you teach them to hone their reading skills while also helping them tell the time. The more you can get your child to read, the more advanced their reading skills will be.
You can even add video games to the mix here! Some video games will have a lot of text for children to read – like Pokemon and Animal Crossing. Games like these encourage kids to read as they have to see what characters are saying and what they need to do. So, you’re getting your children to read through a medium that they already enjoy!
Effectively, the best way to improve a child’s reading ability is to encourage them to read as often as possible. The more they do it, the better they will get.