As a reading teacher, I want parents to make reading part of their children’s lives. It’s cliché, but parents are their children’s first teachers, and need to instil the love and importance of reading. When parents read books, magazines and newspapers, and involve themselves in their children’s reading growth, they’re sending a strong message that reading is fun and valuable.
Here are several enjoyable reading activities for parents and their children:
1) Visit The Local Library – Set aside time every week to visit your neighborhood library, with your children. After locating the shelves of children’s books, read several aloud to your children. Reading aloud allows children to hear good readers who have automatic word recognition and use good expression in their voices. Children also learn important concepts in print such as that pages turn from right to left and words are read from left to right. After reading aloud to your children help them select seven books to check out. Read a book aloud each night of the week.
2) Create A Home Library – Stop by garage sales and used bookstores to find inexpensive children’s books, novels, and nursery rhyme collections. As well as, books on nature, science, and history. Designate a special place in your home for your library. Starting a home library sends a strong message to children that books and reading are a necessary and important part of life.
3) Family Book Sharing – At the dinner table or during family reading time have everyone in the family talk about the book they are currently reading—whether fiction or non-fiction. This helps children learn about the different genres of books such as, biographies, historical fiction, mystery and informational formats.
4) Pair Reading – Have your child select a book they can read with your assistance. Next, the parent reads aloud, and then allows their child to read aloud. Parents need to point to each word while reading. This lets your child hear and see the words simultaneously.
5) Family Book Club – Depending on the age of your children, select a book everyone in the family will mutually enjoy reading. Once a week discuss the book. Parents and their children can identify important elements found in fiction. Main characters, plot, setting, etc.—all found in both children’s pictures books and novels. Book discussions also help children develop comprehension.
When children see reading is an enjoyable experience, they want to be involved. Studies in reading development consistently show when parents model reading and participate in helping their children learn to read, children improve their reading skills and become lifelong readers.
Carol Fraser Hagen is a former elementary Reading Specialist and Dyslexia Therapist from the Midwest. She enjoys gardening, bird watching and her Jack Russell terrier. Her website is www.carolfraserhagen.com . Carol has a Bachelors degree in Secondary Education she holds a Masters degree in Special Reading and is an Educational Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to writing about reading education Carol is a freelance writer and a published children’s writer. Want more tips and resources on reading education? Subscribe to Carol Fraser Hagen’s free newsletter at www.thereadingchalkboard.com for a weekly dose of professional advice and resources for parents and teachers.