Reading Tips

From Teachers

Marissa Kiepert Truong,

Ph.D., educational psychologist, Philadelphia, PA Land of Once Upon a Time

Read and repeat. Children learn through repetition. If you’ve found a book and a reading situation that “works” for your kids, do it again. Repeated exposure to the same book will increase the children’s familiarity with it, which may help motivate them to read the next time!

Kathy Stemke,

former teacher and freelance writer, Mount Airy, GA, Education Tipster

Make a Rhyming Book

After you read a book, have your child draw objects from the story on construction paper, one object per page. Then roll a die. If you draw a cat and roll a six, write six words that rhyme with cat, such as hat, mat, bat, fat, sat and rat. Staple the book together.

Deidre Smith,

former second-and-third-grade teacher, Simpsonville, South Carolina.

With very young children, it's beneficial to start pointing out story clues in the illustrations. Picture clues can help children develop an understanding of all kinds of things in a book–mood, character traits, plotlines, cause and effect and more.

Paul Reyes-Fournier,

Big Bear Lake, California, CoupleDumb

The best thing you can do to enhance your child’s reading performance is to read in front of them. A recent study in the Journal of Educational Psychology shows that there is a direct positive correlation between autonomous reading and academic reading skills. A child that picks up a book on their own at home will read better and understand more in school. Telling your child that they need to read turns it into a task. The better approach is to turn off the TV, flop down on the couch and read a book. Then invite your child to join you!

Amy Bizzarri,

world languages teacher, Chicago, Illinois, TravelWriters

Set up your own book nook. Be creative and gather books for your child’s home collection. Garage sales and thrift stores are great resources for inexpensive used books. Consider inviting friends over for a book exchange. Ask everyone to bring 10 books to trade.

Paul Reyes-Fournier,

Big Bear Lake, California, CoupleDumb

One way to pass time in the car is to play 'the rhyming game'. Give your child a word and ask them to find a word that rhymes with it. This is a fun way for children to develop sound patterns. As they get more proficient, you can give them harder words. When they begin reading, the patterns will help them sound out words and identify familiar endings faster, thus extending their sight word bank. The best part, it's a great way to have the whole family involved on a long road trip!

Kathy Stemke,

former teacher and freelance writer, Mount Airy, GA, Education Tipster

Make personalized books. Keep kids hooked on reading by making them the main character in their own books. Photograph them during their daily activities and create a wordless book. Or foster creativity by helping them write or dictate their own story and provide illustrations.

Joyce Chng,

former teacher and mother of two, Singapore

Role-playing or acting out a picture book with kids is key as it immediately captures their attention. Encourage them to join in and also engage them in acting. It's fun and helps kids understand the characters and plot.

Amy Bizzarri,

world languages teacher, Chicago, Illinois, TravelWriters

Explore the online catalog of your local library with your children to discover books that fit their interests. Remember that as soon as your kids can print their names, they’ll qualify for their very own library card. Celebrate this milestone. Make a weekly stop at your library a must-do on your to-do list.

Kathy Stemke,

former teacher and freelance writer, Mount Airy, GA, Education Tipster

Draw a road with sight words printed on it. Use a toy car to drive to each word. Have kids repeat the word after you so they can drive to the finish line. Then celebrate! When children master many sight words, reading becomes easier.

Julie Meyers Pron,

former elementary school teacher, West Chester, PA, Just Precious

Take your time.

Reading doesn't happen overnight. Kids learn to read at different paces and ages. Rather than forcing sounds on your child, instill a love of the reading process by reading aloud. Kids will pick up rhythm, theme and comprehension skills. Reading will happen in time, but a love and understanding of stories will often come first.

Marissa Kiepert Truong,

Ph.D., educational psychologist, Philadelphia, PA Land of Once Upon a Time

Know Your Child

Tailor your book selections to your child's interests and abilities. Don't choose books off the best-seller list if they won't be of interest. See whether the language and word count are appropriate. Help your child succeed! Give praise where appropriate to allow your child to associate accomplishment with the act of reading.

Marissa Kiepert Truong,

Ph.D., educational psychologist, Philadelphia, PA Land of Once Upon a Time

Expand Kids' Reading Repertoire

Help kids connect to their most passionate interests through magazines, newspapers, websites and books. A child who loves sports might enjoy reading SI Kids; an animal lover might soak up National Geographic Kids. Try a biography for kids who love to learn about people or history.

Marissa Kiepert Truong,

Ph.D., educational psychologist, Philadelphia, PA Land of Once Upon a Time

Know your child. Tailor your book selections to your child's interests and abilities. Don't choose books off the best-seller list if they won't be of interest. See whether the language and word count are appropriate. Help your child succeed! Give praise where appropriate to allow your child to associate accomplishment with the act of reading.

 

From Parents

Pamela Thompson,

Bismarck, North Dakota, Dakota Pam

I have six kids and we have books all over the house! There are bookshelves in every single room. Every night we have family reading time when we all sit and read. Sometimes we read a book, like Harry Potter, together. Other times we each pick up a book and read quietly. It is a great time together and it reinforces how important reading is!

Melinda Joy,

Parent-to-Be, Living, Laughing, Loving

Before reading a book use the K-W-L chart: K for 'What I Know,' W for 'What I Want to Learn,' and L for 'What I Learned.' This allows you to tap into prior knowledge and ensures your child's active participation. It is also a great way to show a child how to read with a purpose and assess comprehension at the same time.

Brian Rock,

Chesterfield, Virginia, Brian Rock

As a former teacher of at risk kids, I know that kids "don't care what you know until they know that you care." The same principle applies to reading. I show my 6 year old daughter that I care about her by sitting next to her and reading to her. I show I care by letting her choose the books. And I show I care by letting her read along, taking turns reading the text.

Ann Williams,

Mom, Cincinnati Area, Ann I Am!

Before you read, get the energy out. Put on music and dance. Print song words on cards. Have your child wave the cards when they hear the words. Then have them close their eyes and imagine an elephant, turn it pink, make it small as a mouse, etc. After a minute or two of this, they should be calm and focused for reading time.

Melinda Joy,

Parent-to-Be, Living, Laughing, Loving

Before reading a book use the K-W-L chart: K for 'What I Know,' W for 'What I Want to Learn,' and L for 'What I Learned.' This allows you to tap into prior knowledge and ensures your child's active participation. It is also a great way to show a child how to read with a purpose and assess comprehension at the same time.

Amy Lupold Bair,

Olney, MD, Resourceful Mommy

To encourage a love for books, I had books everywhere in our home: bathtub books, soft books in their cribs, books in their car seats – everywhere! I’m happy to say that I now have two newly fluent readers who still love books, and they still keep them everywhere.

Ashley Saunders,

Leesburg, VA, Teachable Mommy

Enjoy yourself! Whatever you do with your children to make reading fun, make sure you are enjoying yourself, too! Nothing is worse than listening to someone read or teach on a subject without any enthusiasm.

Pamela Thompson,

Bismarck, North Dakota, Dakota Pam

I have six kids and we have books all over the house! There are bookshelves in every single room. Every night we have family reading time when we all sit and read. Sometimes we read a book, like Harry Potter, together. Other times we each pick up a book and read quietly. It is a great time together and it reinforces how important reading is!

Melinda Joy,

Parent-to-Be, Living, Laughing, Loving

Before reading a book use the K-W-L chart: K for 'What I Know,' W for 'What I Want to Learn,' and L for 'What I Learned.' This allows you to tap into prior knowledge and ensures your child's active participation. It is also a great way to show a child how to read with a purpose and assess comprehension at the same time.

Vincent Daly,

New Rochelle, NY, Dad, CuteMonster

What I find motivates my children the most is power of choice. Children are born explorers. By empowering them to choose what they’d like to read, it enables them to seek out more books on their own. I’d also recommend trying different avenues of discovery to achieve literacy. For example, try reading comic books.

Pamela Thompson,

Bismarck, North Dakota, Dakota Pam

I have six kids and we have books all over the house! There are bookshelves in every single room. Every night we have family reading time when we all sit and read. Sometimes we read a book, like Harry Potter, together. Other times we each pick up a book and read quietly. It is a great time together and it reinforces how important reading is!

Lauren Forte,

North Bellmore, Long Island, New York

Use your underwater voice. We do a lot of voice changing! My kids tell me what type of voice they want me to read in. Some of their favorites are "high-pitched," "underwater," "fast" and "s l o w l y."

Megan Montgomery,

Madison, AL, Megan's Space

Read in a Tree

Relieve anxiety about reading by giving kids control over the setting. My kids take a book with them when they climb the tree in the front yard. My son Alex once spent an entire afternoon up there, reading the latest in his favorite series. Reading is something that can (and should) happen anywhere!

Ashley Saunders,

Leesburg, VA, Teachable Mommy

Bring the Book to Life!

Help kids experience what they've just read. After reading Fancy Nancy: Aspiring Artist, we went to the local craft store to buy canvases and painting supplies. My daughter, Kira, dressed up and went to work on creating her own masterpiece.