You do not need extensive training or sophisticated instructional materials to provide your child with excellent reading support. You, as the parent, can help your child stay ahead of his or her reading assignments more easily than you think. Below is a guide on how to create a culture of language in your home, provide hands-on reading instruction, and improve your child’s vocabulary.
The first step in providing reading support is creating a language-rich environment for your child. Make up fun games where you and your child create silly words or sounds for common household items or toys. Use exaggerated sounds and facial expressions. Play like this is nature’s best teaching tool. There are also age-appropriate games you can buy where silly words and noises are encouraged. By doing a quick Amazon or Google search, you can find which games are suited for your child’s age and developmental level.
The next step is to read to your child daily. Aim to spend at least 20 minutes a day reading to or with your child, as long as it’s time well spent and free of conflict or frustration. It’s OK to pick it up another time when your child is in a regulated state. Your child’s frustration threshold for reading will change frequently, and that’s to be expected.
Here are the strategies to best incorporate daily reading into your child’s schedule:
1) Create a calm space for reading
2) Keep in mind the distance between you and your child – when starting out, it’s OK to have your child sitting in your lap, but as he or she grows more independent and self-directed, you may want to allow him or her to read in his or her room alone
3) Select reading material your child will enjoy
4) Make the book relevant to your child
5) Keep reading-together time fun
6) Consider pointing out words
7) Try articles
8) Be a model reader
Many of these strategies come naturally, because they are how we learned to read as children, and they are inherently fun. However, there are some days where it is a struggle to implement any kind of reading, and that is OK. If you remember at times to allow your child to lead the way, you will find that he or she is developing his or her own reading style, choosing his or her own favorite reading materials, and developing his or her own strategies for reading difficult words.
Director of Education