Becoming an Avid Reader
Often parents wonder if there is a correct way to turn their children into good readers. It seems as if no other skill is as important to school success as reading, and, therefore, it is the one about which parents are most concerned. Clearly, good readers read often. Here are some ways to help your children get into the habit of reading.
Let your children read what they enjoy. Particularly in the early years, let your children choose what they want to read themselves and offer no criticism, advice, or suggestions to read ”better” material. As a result, the motivation to learn new words and better understand what they are reading will come from them. They will not be learning to read to please you, but to please themselves, which is a crucial first step to becoming self-reliant readers. Children will love reading when it is allowed to be their own thing.
Keep parent and teacher roles separate. Sometimes when parents experience reading problems with their children, it is because there is confusion with teacher-parent roles. Your role as a parent should not be confused with a teacher’s role. You should expect teachers to assign reading homework for the purpose of introducing children to a variety of topics and genres. Children may not experience the same joy and feeling of ownership when they are reading on their own. However, if your children understand this, reading skills will be strengthened and a sense of pride will develop because they have completed their work. Reading success happens when parents expose their children to all types of content and allow them to choose what to read to themselves. Introduce them to others who might recommend the prefect book. Oversee children’s reading homework assignments to ensure that they are completed accurately and within given timeliness. It is the teacher’s role to introduce children to literature genres, classics or what is defined as good literature, as well as to teach comprehension, phonics, and study skills.
Praise your children’s reading progress. Some children learn to read more quickly than others, children need opportunities and encouragement as they learn to be good readers. Encourage children to keep on reading even when it is difficult. Help them with difficult words or passages.
Monitor school performance. Offer to help with homework. Even if children have no assigned homework. Even if children have no assigned homework, they can benefit from a few minutes of reading time each day for learning activities. Using homework time to practice reading is an easy way to keep trach of progress your child is making in reading.
Limit television viewing to make time for reading. Generally, let TV watching frees up time that can be used for reading. Reading teaches children to actually use their imagination. While television presents all the answers.
Use the local library. Encourage participation in library activities and book clubs. Have personal library cards in your children’s names. Take regular trips to the library to check out new books.
By encouraging free reading, keeping roles separate, praising reading progress, monitoring reading performance, limiting TV watching, and using the library, you can help your children become avid readers.
Mr. Kerry R. Keener, Ed.S