It’s no secret that all of the experts are out there giving information right now about what to do with your children and how to make them better readers. Since the onset of the pandemic, everyone has been worried about their child’s performance in school, their reading level, and if they are making enough progress. This has led parents to be more concerned with reading at home and wanting ideas for supporting reading at home. With all of the suggestions being put out there, it’s hard to recognize what is truly beneficial to your child and what can be ignored. The great news is, most of the experts are saying the same things about supporting reading at home! This blog post will summarize some of those things the experts are saying about how you can support reading and how help your child’s reading development.
Read with Your Child
This one seems so simple, and it is, but it is so helpful. One of the best things you can do to support your child’s reading development is to read to your child daily. If you have a younger child, this looks like you reading books to your child. For older children, you can have your child read books to you or to their younger siblings or even a pet. Just like with everything else, your child cannot get better at reading unless they practice and practicing reading at home is the best way to gain practice. Not only will they see that reading can be fun, but they will see that it is important to you, too.
Visit the Library
Where do you get books to read at home? Go to the library! While some children like to reread the same books over and over again (and there is nothing wrong with that!), other children like to read different books each time. The public library is a fantastic resource for readers. They have a plethora of books to choose from to help you work on your child’s reading development at home.
While it is a good idea for you to pick out books in your child’s interest range (books they are interested in and at an appropriate length for their attention span), it is also helpful to have your child help you pick out books to read. This ensures that your child is interested in the books you choose and more likely to pay attention and listen when you are reading at home later.
This one seems silly and like it doesn’t relate to developing reading skills, but it does. First of all, most games require your child to understand the directions and thus practice comprehending what they read or hear which is a great step in the right direction for developing reading skills. Secondly, there are a number of games you can play that support early reading skills and even more advanced reading skills.
Some games I recommend for supporting reading at home include Bingo, Scrabble, Bananagram, matching games, Sequence Letters, Boggle, Headbands, Apples to Apples Junior, and Scategories to name a few. Each of these games are helpful with supporting reading at home in a few different ways.
Struggling to find a game? Look online or check out Teachers Pay Teachers!
It doesn’t feel like this tip is related to reading, but it is. You should ask your child daily questions that give your child the opportunity to talk about their day, things they enjoy, and things they know about. There are many different skills we can work on to support reading development at home, and this is one of them. Answering questions help kids to develop their comprehension skills, such as sequencing and completely understanding something that has happened.
Be sure to ask open ended questions and pile on the questions. For example, if you ask your child what they did today and they answer “nothing,” ask specific questions to build on that. What did you do during recess? What special areas class did you have today? What did you learn during that class? Who did you play with today? What did you play with them? Keep the questions going and try to stay away from yes/no questions.
Be the Example
This one is so important for supporting reading at home. You want to be an example for your child so they can learn from your actions. Does your child see you read? If they do not, it’s likely that they will not want to read themselves. Children who see their parents read are much more likely to read themselves. You can even set a time for reading at home. Perhaps your family all sits down in the evening to read for 30 minutes every day. Even if your child is not reading yet, they can use this time to look at the pictures of books or magazines while you read. Then when reading time is over, you can all talk about what you read, what you liked and didn’t like about your book, or discuss if you’re going to read the book again. However you decide to do it, it’s important for your child to see you reading at home.
How Will You Start Supporting Reading at Home?
There are many things that you can do to help your child’s reading development. The activities you choose don't have to be boring or seemingly academic; there are everyday tasks you can do to help your child’s reading development (and love of reading) at home. Reading with your child, visiting the library, playing games, asking questions, and setting the example are all wonderful ways to get your child interested in reading and improve their literacy skills. Try one (or all!) of these things today!