A Parent's Guide to Raising Voracious Readers
by Sandra Lynn Robinov (aka AskSan); Contributing Writer
My daughter spends time during the summer months with her dad (something she's done since our divorce); and I always worry that she will lose what she's learned the past school year (and from me) while she's living it up with him. That is not to say I think he will "dumb her down" but...well, maybe its my Type A personality scooting to the front during the summer months; on top of just plain missing my little girl, of course.
This summer there were no worries. During many of our long (girl-talk) conversations I was treated to a good read (chapter book or short story) from my 7 year old genius. Proud mom? Without a doubt!
I am always amazed with how smart my Maggie is; and do credit all of her influences -- not just me -- however, I can absolutely take pride in how well she reads, her inflection and comprehension, and her ability to pronounce, define, and use big words; as well as small ones.
The following 5 tips do not even take much conscious thought on my part. At least at the time of implementation. As with most other things, I try to parent in a sensible way with respect to what I was taught as a child and what I learned as I got older.
With that in mind I would like to share what I consider five key ways for turning your child into a lover of the written word. With a healthy appetite for reading anyone can do anything they put their mind to.
5 Ways to Advance Your Child's Reading:
(1) Be a reader and share your love with your child: All kids like to copy what they see others doing and if your child sees you reading often, he or she will want to as well.
(2) Read to your child daily: I've been reading to Maggie since she was but a blob in my belly. Spend 10-15-20 minutes or more a day sharing a story with your child.
(3) Encourage your child to help you read the story you've chosen: Once your child is old enough to start recognizing certain words, let him or her become an active part of telling the story.
(4) Seek outside help (workbooks and/or tutoring): Don't be afraid to admit that you wish your child was a better reader. If the situation reaches a point where you need outside tutoring, there are plenty of ways to get it. Check out your local libraries, bookstores, and research on-line for great tools to help get your child to enjoy reading.
(5) Take time to hear a story and interact with your child: Once your child can read on his or her own, encourage private time -- for them to read on their own -- and time with them to hear their story. Help with big words -- pronouncing and defining, teach proper inflection (e.g., reading questions, character conversations, etc.), and make this a fun part of your day.
The Bottom Line?Again, the above is working for us and I am consistently amazed by my smart girl. I believe in nature and nurture when raising a child and this is one area where I can honestly say I had something to do with her reading success. Oh, and don't forget to praise your child when he or she blows you away with this awesome reading ability! Good luck raising voracious readers!!!
* Sandra Lynn Robinov is an expert reader and mother to a wonderful daughter who reads at two grade levels above her age.
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