Thank you for taking the time to read with your child. Here are some hints for helping your child improve reading skills.
*Set aside 20 or 30 minutes a day for reading. Your child can read to you when you get home or read to you while you cook dinner. The more time your child spends reading or being read to is directly related to improvement in school. You may set a kitchen timer to keep track of the time. Try to make your "appointment to read" the same time every day to establish a tradition.
*Celebrate the number of minutes spent reading at the end of the week. For example, set up a chart to record the number of minutes read each day. Each time you reach 100 minutes, do something special together to celebrate.
*Read more difficult books TO your child. Your child's brain is a "work in progress." Reading aloud helps your child build vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening skills, speaking skills, and writing skills.
*Read WITH your child every day. Make it fun by reading outdoors -- on the front steps, at the beach or park. Read to your child and let your child read to you! Take advantage of the rainy days, and snuggle up to read together! Discuss the books with your children.
*Take TURNS reading. You read one paragraph, your child reads the next.
*If the book is difficult, use echo reading. You read 2 lines, your child reads them back to you (your echo). This way you provide a model of how the words are read.
*Give your child a chopstick or a marker (any kind of pointer) to follow along in the book as you read. Have your young reader find a favorite page in the book and rehearse it until it can be read perfectly. Then let your child perform that page for you.
Brag about how well your child read that page to other relatives and friends. Ask your child to read that page to them.
*Ask your child to read to a younger sibling. Reading confidence improves when a child helps others learn to read.
*Children love break-in reading. You start reading and they can break in and begin to read any time you come to the end of a sentence. You can break in next. Another form of this game is called hot potato: you begin reading and stop at any sentence and say, "Hot Potato!" Your child begins reading and stops at any sentence and says, "Hot Potato, Mom!"
*Set a good example! Keep a variety of reading material around the house. Turn off the TV and have family reading time (including mom and dad.)
*Let kids choose what they want to read. Parents are encouraged to be involved in book selection as well, taking into account that books vary in reading and maturity levels.
*Check out books on tape. Listen to these recordings in the car, or turn off the TV and have the family listen to them together at home. You might look for stories or podcasts online.
*Take your children to the library regularly. Most libraries sponsor summer reading clubs with easy-to-reach goals for pre-school and school-age children. Check the library calendar for special summer reading activities and events. Libraries also provide age appropriate lists for summer reading.