Reading Tips to Help Your Child

  1. Be a good listener when your child tells stories, asks questions, or reads to you. This encourages your child and helps in language and reading skill development.
  2. Read to your child, or with your child, every day (for 20-40 minutes, preferably).
  3. Write down your child's stories or have him/her write them down (if writing skills are developed). Seeing his/her own words in print helps to connect reading and writing concepts.
  4. Talk about what you are reading and allow your child to interrupt and ask questions. This helps involve him/her in the story or reading material, and also increases understanding of what is read.
  5. Be a good reading model for your child: if s/he sees you read, s/he is more likely to be interested in reading.
  6. Have a variety of reading materials available (books, magazines, newspapers).
  7. Provide your child with a desk to read or study in a quiet area, and provide a shelf on which to store books.
  8. Take your child to the library regularly (get a library's free!); browse through the books or ask the librarian for help. Attend the library story-times with young children.
  9. Go to bookstores, used-book stores, or flea markets, to look for books. Buy books for your child and/or encourage him/her to buy books.
  10. If your child is having a particular problem, teach him/her that there are many books that can be helpful and address all kinds of personal difficulties (death of a family member, divorce, ADHD, how to handle anger, etc.).
  11. Encourage your child to read all kinds of things: labels; signs; magazines; adventure books; game rules; assembly instructions; food labels; billboards; travel brochures; recipes; World Wide Web site information; etc.
  12. Show your child that whatever s/he is interested in, there are books on the subject. Read books on those interests (e.g., sports, dinosaurs, art, animals, hobbies, cooking, science, nature, etc.).
  13. Buy a dictionary for your child and encourage using it to look up words. This helps develop a good vocabulary and gives practice in alphabetization.
  14. Let him/her look up information to read in the phone book (Yellow Pages give great information on stores).
  15. Teach your child respect for books. Never let a child destroy a book. Be sure library books are returned on time and in good condition. Keep books in good repair (e.g., mend pages that are torn, etc.).
  16. When you read to your child, let your child select the book. Follow the words with your finger as you read. Explain words to your child and ask questions to be sure he/she understands. Have your child draw a picture and/or write a few sentences about what has been read.
  17. Praise your child's efforts at reading and writing. Give encouragement when s/he tries.
  18. Let reading and writing be fun; play games that include reading/writing tasks.
  19. Encourage your child to write (even a very young child can 'write'); be sure to s/he has adequate paper, pens, pencils, a ruler, crayons, etc.
  20. Let your child help make the grocery list, look for coupons in the newspaper, and find the items in the store.
  21. Subscribe to an appropriate magazine for your child. S/he will love getting his/her own magazine each month.
  22. Read the newspaper together (the comics, an event of interest, TV program listings, a movie advertisement, local happenings, church events, or a favorite sports team article).
  23. Read a favorite recipe. Together you can buy the necessary ingredients, follow the recipe to make the dish, and then enjoy eating it!
  24. Help your child make a birthday list of family and friends. S/he can send a letter or make a card for the friend or relative. Always have your child send thank-you notes for gifts received. Holidays are also good times for notes or cards.
  25. Read together for enjoyment and fun, as well as for learning!

A compilation of teachers and Center staff suggestions, and information from the International Reading Association (IRA) ? and from Reading is Fundamental, Inc (RIF)