Reading is one of the most basic and most essential skills that anyone of us will ever need. If you are able to read effectively, you cannot do basic things such as reading directions or applying for jobs, so it can really affect your whole life.
That is why it is so important that we, as parents, do everything we can to support our children ads they learn to read and later develop those reading skills. With that in mind, here are some of the most important things you can do to boost your child’s learning skills right now:
Let them read comics and magazines
Many parents think that their children should always be reading the most worthy literature if they want to improve their reading skills, but this is really not the case. Reading anything regularly will help your children to develop the skills they need to improve reading comprehension.
Children who are struggling, in particular, may find the inclusion of images helpful as it will give them more context about the content of the material they are reading, and if you choose a comic or a magazine on a subject they are passionate about, it will encourage them to dive in and do their best.
Do word searches with them
Word searches are a brilliant tool for helping your children with word recognition. It can also help them to develop their spelling skills and enhance their vocabulary if they are tasked with searching for words that they might not have come across before. It is possible to find word searches for all ages and abilities and you can even find, or make your own, themed ones for special events like Christmas or birthdays to ensure that your children are fully engaged.
Get them to help you with reading tasks
If you want your children to be the most confident readers they can possibly be, then something you should try to do as often as you can is to get them to help you with reading tasks even if you think they may be out of their league.
Print awareness is an important part of reading effectively. What is print awareness and why is it important for young learners? Put simply, it is the ability to contextualize what you are reading so that you can better understand the information in front of you. So, for example, whenever you see a menu you will know that the information inside is informing you of your finding options, which makes it easier to understand.
As you can imagine, getting kids to help you with reading everything from your recipe cards in the kitchen to the billboard you pass every day on the way to school will really help them get to grips with this particular aspect of reading.
Play board games
Playing board games with your children might be a fun activity, but it is also an excellent way of improving their reading skills. Obviously, when you play even the simplest board games, there are instructions that must be read and understood, and often you will need to read various things during gameplay such as the instruction cards you find in Monopoly. As such, playing these kinds of games will help your kids with their comprehension and ability to follow written instructions which is a vital life skill, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Buy them a joke book
If you have a child who is a bit of a joker, or who likes making people laugh, using a joke book can really help to get them engaged in the reading process. Furthermore, it can help them to memorize short passages of text, which as you will probably know if you’ve ever had to give a speech or presentation, is another very useful life skill to have. But, most importantly of all, it helps to show your child that reading really can be a lot of fun.
Get them to write a story
Encouraging your child to either write their own story or create their own comic book is an excellent way to help them master the written word. It will also help them to learn how stories work from the plot to the scenery to the characters which will almost certainly help them to understand things better when they are reading a book.
This is often a good way to engage children who are hesitant to read because they will be more likely to want to tell a good story of their own, and they will be delighted to read it back to any friends and family members who will agree to listen!
Play word games
If your child is having a tough time learning phonics, simple word games like ‘I went to the shop and I bought’ or ‘I Spy” can really help them to get used to sounding out words, thinking about sentence structure, and even improving their spelling, and these are games you can pretty much play any time anywhere, although laying in the car is often a good idea and little kids are always looking for a way to make car journeys less boring, and it won’t seem remotely like a learning experience to them while they’re on the road, so they won’t suffer from performance anxiety.
Get them cooking
If you have a child who really struggles with reading, and is therefore really hesitant to engage in any and all things reading-related, a good way to get them reading without all of the fuss is to ask them if they would like to do some cooking.
Obviously, cooking requires a recipe that you can get them to read during the process, and because they are doing so for a purpose, and because it is not the main task, you will find that they will engage and at least try to read the words on the page with your help. You’ll be helping them to develop two important life skills in one go!
Have them research a topic they love
An important part of being able to read well is being able to find and identify the exact information you require - not all reading is done for pleasure. So, a really good way to both develop this particular skill, and get them reading more is to encourage them to research a topic they love. Whether you ask them to research dog breed before you agree to get a family dog (obviously only do this if you are ready and willing to bring an animal into your home) or you have them research how to build a boxcar before the big local race, anything you can do to link reading to something more practical that they will enjoy is always going to be a win.
Read to them
As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your child is to read to them from a young age. The more used they are to hearing you read stories, the more familiar they will become with words, sentence structures, and meanings, which means it will be a whole lot easier for them to jump in and start reading themselves.
Once they are a bit older, instead of reading to them, get them to read with you, so you each take a paragraph and read aloud to the other. This is a great way to bond as well as an excellent way to boost their reading skills.
Assign each family member with the task of finding a poem they love and memorizing it by the end of the week for a family poetry recital. Poems are great because they can be short and funny and the structure and rhythm often appeal to young children, making it easier for them to read in flow. This is a great way to boost both reading skills and memory and it will make for a fun family memory too!
Get them to shop with you
Another great way to get your kids to read by stealth is to write a grocery list and assign them with the task of helping you pick up everything you need at the store. They’ll be focused on helping you get the right items more than they are reading, which means they will worry less about getting it right and (hopefully) just dive right in.
Set a good example
Last, but not least, if you want to help your child boost their reading skills, you should be a regular reader yourself. The more they see you enjoying a good book or reading a great magazine, the more likely they are to think of it as an enjoyable activity that can bring a lot of pleasure to them, which means they will be more likely to give it a go too.
As you can see, there are so many things you can do to improve your child’s reading skills that no matter how far along their reading journey they are or how difficult they may be finding things, you will always be able to offer a helping hand as well as an understanding ear.