Get your kids reading (and loving it) with these easy tips.
1. Turn Reading into an Adventure
“Make books come alive and strengthen your children’s comprehension skills by turning stories into real world activities,” suggests Anna Piepmeyer, director of literacy programming at Open Books. Activities can be as easy as whipping up a batch of green eggs and ham in honor of Dr Seuss or visiting the Field Museum after your child reads a story about mummies.
2. Let your Children Choose
Empower young readers by encouraging them to choose books on their own. “Most children connect best with characters they can relate to,” says Jane Fleming, a professor at Erickson Institute and founder of Kids Like Us, which is dedicated to providing urban libraries and schools with high-quality children’s literature. When choosing books, look for stories with characters who act and sound like children. There’s nothing worse than reading a story about a 6-year-old girl who sounds like a 35 year-old woman.
3. Say Yes to a Series
“We’ve all heard of Harry Potter, but there are many other wonderful series that will get children hooked and begging to read more,” says Piepmeyer. Whether it’s classics like “Anne of Green Gables,” “Little House on the Prairie” or modern collections such as Scott Westerfeld’s “Uglies,” reading in sequence is a great way to ensure that your child’s reading habit doesn’t stop when the book ends.
4. Zap Sight Words
“Children who struggle with high frequency sight words are more likely to dislike reading,” says reading specialist Jennifer Kohrs. To mitigate this issue, Kohrs suggests playing sight word recognition games with your children. “Zap” is one of Kohrs’ favorites because it’s easy to set up and can easily be played at home. First ask your child’s teacher for a list of words you child should be reading “by sight.” Then write each word on Popsicle stick. Be sure to write “Zap” on one stick as well. Place sticks facedown in a cup. Players take turns pulling sticks from the cup and reading each word aloud. If the word is read correctly, the player gets the stick. But be careful! If a player pulls the “Zap” stick, he has to put all his sticks back into the cup. The person with the most sticks at the end of the game wins.