The Beginners Guide To Raising A Reader.
Did you know learning to read is a challenge for almost 40% of kids and an even bigger challenge for parents. Now that you are a parent watching the next generation of kids aka yours grow up. Chances are you want your child to experience the timeless and time stopping joys of reading. I know I do for my son. This is the reason I've started writing a bookish blog, geared towards helping parents connect with their children over the love of books. I'm looking for a support system geared towards raising kids to be readers.
As any parent that is committed to fostering their child's reading, you may have at times felt some worry about it all. I do every day. The stress began when my son was still fiddling with alphabet letters and watching preschool education programs on PBS. My concern kicked in about measuring up. Questions like Why hasn't my child learnt the alphabet yet? When will he read? Is he reading soon enough? Fast enough? Will he succeed in school? Get into college?, Get a good job? etc. Your thoughts can spiral out of control. Then you can go the other way having the fear for the future of their generation. Will they even read actual books? or just spend hours on electronic devices?
All I can say is don't worry, the answer is no, they won't always be on devices. I strongly believe if a book's written well enough, a child will pick it up and read it if they know how.
What is raising a reader?
Reading is a critical skill that everyone needs. Parents are a child's first teacher and there are many simple things we can all do every day to share the joy of reading while also strengthening our child's literacy skills.
How to get started with raising a reader
There is so much we can do for our children when it comes to helping them become confident readers. We can start by reading to our child when they are infants. Read to them often and regularly, if you can develop a reading routine at bedtime even better. When they are a bit older start to let your children help select the books. Then as annoying as it can be repeat their favorite stories as often as your child wishes, it really helps. Interact with your children when reading, ask them questions and point stuff out in the pictures. The great thing about reading is, it's for the whole family, so read together! If you can take regular trips to the library and pick out books or just wander down the aisles looking and reading books together. That is huge. It exposures them to a wide range of subjects and lets you look without buying. Lastly model the importance of reading in your own life. Let your children see you reading books daily even if it's just for a few minutes.
Tips For Reading Success
Read from day one. Start a reading routine in those very first days with a newborn. Enjoy that rocking chair you invested in for the baby's room. Even very young babies respond to the warmth of your lap and the soothing sound of you reading a book aloud. The first book I read to my son was Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz.
Share books every day. Read with your child every day, even after they become an independent reader. Imagine the conversations you can have about many subjects.
Reread favorites. Most children love to hear their favorite stories over and over and over again. Rereading books will provide an opportunity to hear or see something that may have been missed the first time around, and provides them with another chance to hear a favorite part.
Send positive messages about the joys of literacy. Your own interest and excitement about books will be contagious! My father instilled a love for books in me that I can't just buy one at a time, I buy 3+ and I always have a reading pile of at least 5 books. I read any minute I can.
Visit the library early and often. Your public library is a great resource for books. The librarian can have helpful advice about authors and illustrators, story times, and more. If you can, make visiting the library part of your family's routine.
Find the reading and writing in everyday things. Take the time to show your child ways that adults use reading and writing every day. Grocery lists, notes to the teacher, maps, street signs and cooking all involve important reading and writing skills.
Give your reader something to think and talk about. There are many different types of books available to readers. Vary the types of books you check out from the library, and try to seek out new subjects that give you and your reader something to think and talk about.
Talk and don't stop talking ever... Just kidding. A child's vocabulary grows through rich conversations with others. No matter what your child's age is, narrate (telling them) what you're doing, talk in full sentences, and sprinkle your conversations with interesting words.
Know your stuff. I promise you it doesn't have to be stressful. Parents don't need to be reading specialists. However it is important to understand the basics about learning to read. This is where alphabet and phonic sounds comes in handy. There's a lot of TV shows, books, educational toys and courses you can purchase to help with this.
Speak up if something doesn't feel right. You are often the first ones to recognize a reading or writing problem. If you have concerns about your child's development, speak with your child's teacher and your pediatrician. It's never too early to check in with an expert. I did this recently with my son and discovered he had a vision problem of double vision and blurred vision, which was only picked up by a proper children's eye specialist and not the regular annual pediatric eye test which he was passing with 20/20 vision.
Let's recap what you need to know about raising a reader.
Always be on the lookout for new books and authors that your child may enjoy. My son loves National Geographic books so I regularly get those for him.
Try to organize an area dedicated to just reading and writing tools.
Try to visit the library for story time and book recommendations as often as possible.
At the end of reading a book together, encourage your child to talk about what he's just read. There's always something to talk to your child about, so sprinkle some interesting words into your conversation.
If you can offer a variety of books to read - Do it! There are great programs out there in your community that want to help families raise readers. I'll be doing a post on this subject in the future.
Try to read with your child every day and expand your home library to include magazines and nonfiction.
If things don't seem right, start to ask questions if you're concerned about your child's development and last but not least......
Decide to raise a reader! You can do it! We as parents are all in this together.
Share this post with your fellow parent friends and let's connect on Facebook. I would love to get a support group going to conquer this parent chapter in our lives of raising readers. If you have any tips or tricks you used with your children to get them to develop a love of reading, I would love to hear them.
Thanks for reading,