Reading is a critical skill that starts developing around the age of 5 for most children; it’s something your child will be doing for the rest of their life, so it’s important to help them sharpen their reading skills.
Figure Out What They Like
Helping your child learn to love reading is about more than finding cute bookmark charms for sale — first and foremost, you need to help them find things they’ll enjoy reading. What subjects does your child enjoy? Are they a fan of dinosaurs, princesses or firefighters? Are they especially fond of fairy tales, aliens or learning about the president? Figure out what they like, and provide them with books on their favorite things. It’s much easier to have fun reading when your child enjoys the material!
Think Outside the Book
Books are a great place to start, but opportunities to read are everywhere! Magazine articles, recipes and even comic books are all fun resources your child can practice reading. You can even take things a step further: turn on the subtitles in their favorite video game to help them build vocabulary and understand context, or find a cool blog online that can help your child practice reading while learning a new subject. Don’t be afraid to invite them to see what you’re reading, either — whether it’s a newspaper article, social media post or receipt, support your child’s curiosity and let them get a glimpse into your world.
Reading with your child does so much more than you might think. No matter what you read, you’ll be spending quality time with your child; this encourages them to look at reading in a positive light. You can take turns reading to each other, and your child will likely enjoy hearing their favorite stories in your voice. You’ll be right there to answer questions or help with word pronunciation and above all, you and your child can build fond memories of reading together for years to come. If possible, try to set up a regular time throughout the week for you and your child to read together.
Every child is different, so it’s important to take a unique approach to help them read. Ask them to read billboards, menus or newspaper comic strips whenever they come up, and challenge them to find things they enjoy reading about. When you make reading and learning fun for your child, their skills will develop naturally over time.