NEA Parents' Resources

Raising Ready Readers – and Keeping Them That Way

There are concrete steps you can take to inspire a love of reading in your child.

It can be difficult to keep children engaged as readers, but there are concrete steps you can take to inspire a love of reading in your child. No matter the age or grade level, this guide will help you make the most out of the time you and your child spend reading together.

Instilling a Love of Reading

Reading to your child at an early age sets a foundation for an interest in stories and love of reading. As you read, try snuggling with your toddler and his favorite blanket or toy. Help your toddler explore their imagination by reading with expression–using different voices for different characters and trying to emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories.

You can further your child’s love of reading by using a repetition strategy, focusing on a topic or timeframe that he or she would look forward to and enjoy. Read stories that interest your toddler again and again to help him or her become familiar with the way stories are organized and make reading a habit at familiar times like after lunch or naptime.

Building Reading Comprehension

As your child starts school, it’s important to continue to read at home with her. As you read together, help your child understand what she is reading through conversation.You can talk about what is happening in the story, encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next and connect characters or events to those in other books and stories. You can also discuss favorite stories or authors, and encourage your reader to think about new words and ideas introduced in books.

Taking the time to talk through the stories you read helps build important reading skills they can use as they move up in grade levels.

Challenging Older Readers

As your child gets older, you can help her to grow by challenging her with questions as you both take turns reading books to each other.

Can your child compare a book to another familiar book and tell you how the characters, settings and illustrations are the same or different? Do they know their favorite part of the story, or what type of mood the book created? These types of questions will keep your child curious during reading time as he or she grows older, and your continued interest in reading with her can make a difference.

Promoting Reading at All Ages

Readers at all levels can benefit from daily reading time – even if it is a magazine or newspaper. The most important thing you can do to help inspire your child to love reading outside of school is to let him or her know that you enjoy and value reading too!

Published with cooperation from National Parent Teacher Association.

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