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Reading and Language

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Tips for Raising a Reader

  • Set aside a consistent time each day for reading aloud. Choose a read-aloud time that fits your family's schedule and stick to it every day. Your child will look forward to this special time together.
  • Encourage your child to choose books that interest him. Your child will be motivated to read if he reads books about topics that interest him, whether it is insects, dragons, or a favorite fiction series.
  • Connect read-aloud choices to everyday activities. When you read and discuss books about things your child has experienced, you help her learn important vocabulary and extend her understanding of experiences.
  • Check out programs at your local public library. Many feature special story times, sing-alongs, and puppet shows during the summer. These programs offer fun opportunities for your child to expand his language- and literacy-related skills.
  • Take books wherever you go. That way, you and your child can enjoy books together wherever you go, whether it's the doctor's office or the barbershop.
  • Read aloud to your reader. As school-aged children become better readers, parents often stop reading aloud to them. However, by reading more difficult books aloud to your reader, you help her learn new vocabulary words, concepts, and ways of telling stories or presenting information. You also enjoy the closeness of sharing a book with your child.
  • Encourage your child to write and draw about books. By doing this, you help your child focus on the aspects of the book that are meaningful for him, while extending his understanding of the stories he reads.
  • Talk to your child about the book she reads. Encourage your child to share her ideas about the books that you read together. Remember though, that asking very open-ended questions might not lead very far. For example, asking, "Why did you like the book?" might result in a shrug or "I don't know." Focusing on specific aspects of the book, however, can help generate more meaningful conversation. For example, by asking, "Does the teacher in the story remind you of your teacher? How?" or "What part of the story made you think that the dog would be safe in the end?" can lead to more sharing.
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