10 At-Home Reading Reinforcers

  • Studies show the average U.S. student spends hours each day with electronic media (TV, computer, game systems) but only minutes reading. And that’s just not enough, literacy experts say. Strong readers make successful learners. The more your child reads, the better reader (and student) he will be! Here are tips for encouraging reading…

    1. Daily reading time at home… Help your child set aside daily reading time at home— 15 to 30 minutes after dinner or before bedtime— to read books at a comfortable, just-right reading level in different genres (realistic and historical fi ction, fantasy, fables, fairy tales, myths, non-fi ction, and biographies). Try new books, but keep those old favorites, too.
    2. Be a good (reading) example… When it’s reading time for your child, pick up a book or magazine yourself.
    3. No holiday for reading… Your child’s daily reading habit should be just hat, daily, even during vacations. Take along books— or books on tape that the whole family will enjoy— for your next car trip.
    4. Family read-aloud… Turn off the TV and start a family tradition with a childhood favorite, reading a chapter or two together each night. Even older children (yes, teens) may like read-aloud time when it means a few extra minutes with Mom or Dad.
    5. Reader’s choice… Ask your reluctant reader to select his own reading material— whether that’s a how-to book, a song or joke book, a special-interest magazine, the sports page, or a graphic anime novel. Reading is reading, no matter the content or type of reading material. Books on tape can enhance traditional reading.
    6. Card-carrying member… Help your child apply for her own library card. Regular trips to the school or public library give your child a wider variety of reading materials. Assist your child in selecting books appropriate to her reading level. Books for younger readers should have pictures to support the story.
    7. Build a library… Help your child build his personal library. Visit the used book store, garage sales and book swaps, library sales, and school book sales.
    8. Join a book club/group… Your older child may enjoy reading and discussing a book with friends. Check your school and public library for opportunities or help your child start her own club.
    9. Reading is everywhere… Don’t stop with books. Point out and read store marquees, cereal boxes, road signs, menus, weather reports, recipes, game directions, movie listings, and more, as you move through the day.
    10. Watch for reading problems… Know what’s expected at your child’s grade level and ask your child’s teacher about his progress at school. If your older student has trouble with routine reading (signs or instructions), reads at a very slow pace on assigned reading, or avoids pleasure reading, he may benefi t from extra readingsupport at school.