Your Child Learned to Read. Now What?
Guest post sponsored by Time4Learning
There are certain milestones when it comes to your child’s academic achievements, but few surpass the triumph of when your child first learns to read. Do you recall that proud moment when your child began reading independently, and the bittersweet moment when he/she was the one reading the bedtime story aloud? Now that this achievement has come, what can you do to continue helping your child improve this lifelong skill? Following are three areas to pay attention to in the process of continuing to cultivate and improve your child’s reading.
You may think of reading as a solitary pursuit, but don’t underestimate the importance of knowing how to pronounce what is being read. Reading relies on, among other things, being able to sound out words. Producing clear sounds is important for this task. If you find that your child needs to improve their pronunciation, try these tips to encourage them:
- Look at your child when they are speaking and remind them it is important that they look at you as well. This will help them learn to imitate the way you sound out certain words and sounds correctly.
- Repeat their sentences with correct pronunciation. For example: If your child says “I want to go der” repeat the sentence “I want to go there.” This will subtly aid your child in gaining correct pronunciation.
If your child has persistent difficulties with pronunciation, you may need to consult a speech therapist for further aid.
It is such a joy to hear your child read, but are they really absorbing the story? Comprehension increases not only the skill of reading but the pleasure as well. It moves students from passively receiving text to actually interacting with it. Start building this skill right now with these ideas:
- While your child is engaged with a book, periodically ask them what they think will happen next in the story. Write down what they say. At the end of the story, compare what they told you was happening to the story’s outcome. This type of prediction helps them connect clues within the text to the overall plot.
- Is there a certain moral or lesson that is central to the story? Ask your child to pinpoint it and tell you how events played out because characters followed a certain path.
- Ask your child to create a “mind movie” of a chapter book, especially if it doesn’t have a lot of pictures. Discuss with your child how they envision a particular scene in a story. Share and compare what “mind movie” you envision of the story.
Comprehending and analyzing a story are invaluable skills and will most certainly help your child take full advantage of learning to read.
Research confirms that motivation is a top factor in becoming a successful reader. Yet, as parents, we know not all children are thrilled about learning to read. If you hear your child saying “reading is hard” or “reading is boring” you may feel discouraged, but take heart, there are many creative ways to motivate your child. Here are some tips for lighting a fire under your reluctant reader.
- Help your child choose books about subjects they are interested in. Do you have a gymnast? Treat them to a book about gymnastics, for example.
- Age appropriateness is also critical. Aim for books that are for their reading level (or just slightly above, if they are the type of child that needs a bit of a challenge).
- Encourage them to read to siblings or a pet. This can be a great motivator, as your child will see how their reading is of value to them and others.
- Create a reward system. Try treating them for accomplishing reading goals. For example a special “something” for every 10 books they read. Stickers are a wonderful idea for younger children.
When you have a reader who is not motivated to practice, it is always important to be a good role model, to be patient, and to persevere. With time and creativity, your child’s reading will blossom.