Updated: Dec 11, 2022
Evidence is plentiful throughout the years that when parents and families actively support and encourage their children, the children are far more likely to succeed educationally. When you as a parent or family member are actively involved in a child’s learning process, you give them a significant advantage.
Even more specifically, the foundation from which to build the foundation for this success is reading. How well your child learns to - and enjoys reading, is absolutely directly related to not only how well your child will do in school, but how successful they will be throughout their lifetime. When a child develops good reading skills they have developed a foundation on which all other learning is built upon.
Before Becoming a Reader
From the day a child is born they begin to learn. From the moment you begin to talk or sing to your new baby they begin to hear and to respond to sounds. The more your talk and sing to your child, the more you strengthen and advance their understanding of language. You are laying the first blocks for your child to becoming a reader.
As a parent you yourself don’t have to be the world’s best reader in order to help your child become a successful reader. It is your time, your interest, your enthusiasm, and your dedication to your child’s success that is important. Remember, it is reading that is the essential element that all other learning is dependent upon.
Every child learns to read at different paces. It is a step by step process with each step mastered leading to the next.
Early on babies and toddlers learn primarily by experiencing the sights and sounds that become a part of their world. Babies are natural born curiosity seekers and learners. They are in a constant explore and discover mode. As a parent you should take great advantage of this natural desire.
As a part of this early discovery and leaning stage babies quickly learn to imitate those events that they both see and hear. So, right from the beginning, parents should be reading, singing, gesturing, smiling and making funny faces with their children. Believe it or not, these are the very first activities that begin to establish a child’s path toward understanding the language and ultimately begin reading.
Ways to Help Your Children
There are several ways to help your children in their quest for reading knowledge. There are many good programs, books, and even games on the market that help children learn the basics of reading fundamentals.
With the market so saturated with different reading and phonics programs, parents often overlook a rather simple and fun way to get their kids excited about reading. Magazines are a great resource to use when you are trying to develop a love of learning in your children.
There are many children’s magazines on the market that are geared for children that don’t even read yet. While it may seem silly to buy a magazine subscription for a child that doesn’t know his letters, it is a great way to have fresh material that you can read to your toddler. Research has shown that children that are read to become readers and it is never too early to instill a love of reading in a child.
If you make reading to your child a part of your daily routine, reading will become a habit to them, in much the same way getting dressed or brushing their teeth becomes a daily activity.
There is also a lot to be gained relationally when you take the time to let your little one snuggle on your lap and listen to your voice as you take off on the merry adventures each story offers.
Once your child is old enough to begin learning to read or if he has already started to read on his own, a subscription to a magazine of his or her own can be an exciting treat. Let your child be involved in the process of picking out the magazine subscription.
If you really want them to be excited about reading it, you should let them pick out the title of the magazine that they want. If you are worried about the choice they will make, give them a chance to choose between a select few titles that have been pre-approved by you.
The main thing is to allow them to be involved in the process, so that they take a little ownership in it and really feel as if the magazine is their own when it comes. If they are old enough to do math, let them calculate the total cost of the magazine. Have them add up how much it would cost if your were to buy each magazine separately at the grocery store and then have them subtract that amount so they can see how much you are saving by taking out a subscription.
Once you have ordered the magazine remind them everyday that it will soon be coming in the mail. Once it does arrive, make a big deal about it, telling them they have mail of their very own.
If you have more than one child, each one should get their own subscription to a different magazine. That way they can share them, but at the same time, everyone feels special and important because they have their very own magazine to read.
Once your child has thumbed through the magazine, encourage them to pick out a story and read it to you. This is a great way to spend time with your child while you are cooking dinner or folding the laundry. If they are reluctant to read out loud, ask them to retell you a story they read or describe what they just read about.
Ask them lots of questions so they have to think about what they read and soon when they read, they will have better and better retention levels.
Reading is such an important life skill that it is important to do everything that you can to help your children become the best readers they can be. To encourage your child’s reading habits, it is pertinent that you not only give them the skills to succeed at reading, but give them the tools that make them enjoy it as well.
If you can get your children to love reading at an early age, you will turn them into life long readers and studies show that kids that love reading tend to do better in school, which helps them to prepare for whatever life throws at them.
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