There are a few things parents/guardians can do at home to help children improve their literacy and reading skills.
- Give books and magazine subscriptions as gifts.
- Set your TV to show closed captioning. Your child will naturally read while watching!
- Model reading - talk with your child about what you read.
- Have a variety of reading materials around: books, magazines, newspapers. Keep them available in the house and car.
- Set aside special time to read with your child.
- Make reading an integral part of your children's lives. Have them read menus, roadside signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings and other practical, everyday information.
- Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.
- Show enthusiasm for your children's reading. Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Be sure to give them genuine praise for their efforts.
For Early Readers
- Invite a child to read with you every day.
- When reading a book where the print is large, point word by word as you read. This will help the child learn that reading goes from left to right and understand that the word he or she says is the word he or she sees.
- Read a child's favorite book over and over again.
- Read many stories with rhyming words and lines that repeat. Invite the child to join in on these parts. Point, word by word, as he or she reads along with you.
- Discuss new words. For example, "This big house is called a palace. Who do you think lives in a palace?"
- Stop and ask about the pictures and about what is happening in the story.
- Read from a variety of children's books, including fairy tales, songbooks, poems and information books.
For Middle Grades
- Ask about your child's interests. Let them have choice in what they read. Fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, comic books and newspapers are all good choices.
- Take turns reading with your child. Talk with your child about what they are reading.
- Encourage your child to use the Internet to learn more about topics of interest.
- Make reading fun - a time that you both look forward to spending together.