At Kids Village, teaching our students to read (and read well) is one of our most important goals as educators. The curriculum we use to support our reading program has been among the top 3 reading curriculum in the nation for the past 30 years. The result is that our students are consistently reading grade-levels above their peers when they enter grade school.
We are proud of our reading program and the success our students see in:
- Decoding words through phonetics. By teaching our students the structure and sounds of words, we’re empowering them with information to identify words they never read before.
- Understanding and identifying sight words. The English language is complex (and so is every student), so we’ve strategically paired an emphasis of phonetics with understanding and identifying important sight words. This helps to maximize learning for students regardless of learning style, supports literacy in words that can’t be decoded through phonetics, and increases reading ease and comfort.
- Most importantly, we take pride in our students’ reading comprehension. Not only are our students strong (and early) readers; our students also comprehend and enjoy the materials they’re reading. They’re interested in the books they read and are developing a genuine interest in reading. This integral (yet often overlooked) skill is one of the most important lifelong skills our children can learn for academic and professional success.
While reading in school is foundational to the Kids Village educational philosophy, reading at home encourages a lifelong mindset of reading.
Here are 8 tips for encouraging reading at home:
Read to your child
One of the most important things you can do to encourage your child to be an active reader is to read to your child every day. Even as your children get older, making reading part of the daily routine will instill a culture of reading in your family.
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make this experience fun. Let your children pick books they enjoy. Use your storytelling skills (and character voices) to keep your child engaged and to help younger children follow the story better. Remember, if you’re bored or seem bored, your child will pick up on it.
Create fun games
Play fun games such as a word scavenger hunt, taking turns reading poems in silly voices, or finding and cooking a recipe together.
Have a wide variety of books available in your home
Your child should see books in their home multiple times a day every day. There should always book nearby so your child can have the opportunity to read if he or she wants to. Stock your library with age-appropriate books about your child’s interests, favorite characters, and favorite types of stories–does your child love stories about other children, fantasy or science fiction, or any book with a lovable dog?
Keep books or other reading materials intentionally within reach
“I like to put a National Geographic kids magazine or two at the kitchen table and switch it out once or twice a week. I also put joke books on the coffee table in the living room, and keep books of fun or silly facts in the car. I never ask my children if they’ve read them or tell them to read them, but they always seem to naturally pick them up to thumb through and find something fun.” – Kelly Andrew
Make reading a priority in your home
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: You are the biggest role model in your child’s life. Let them see you reading every day for at least 15 minutes (and we don’t mean on mobile devices, since children associate those with games and social media). Pick up a book, newspaper, or magazine, and settle in for a few quality minutes of reading.
If you are able to convince your child to sit down and read next to you, great! If you can’t, don’t worry about it. Even if they’re not actively participating, simply letting your child catch a glimpse of you reading each day can impact their approach to reading.
Consider extending bedtime, just for self-reading
“When I was a child, bedtime just meant it was time to get into our beds and turn on our reading lamps; we were allowed to read as long as we wanted! Sure, sometimes we took advantage of it and read into the wee hours of the morning, but we quickly learned that meant we were tired and groggy the next day, so we rarely stayed up longer than was reasonable. More impactful, we embraced what felt like the autonomy of the freedom to read and consequently read voraciously. We all became lifelong readers and still, to this day, read every night.” – Lisa Hopkins
Explore reading programs at your local library
Visit your local library and let your child participate in their children’s reading programs. Most community libraries have reading time sessions that can help you child strengthen their reading skills in a fun, age-appropriate atmosphere. Some libraries even have the “read to a dog” program, by which kids can read to dogs. Research shows that when children read to a dog, they are less afraid and more engaged in their reading assignments.
Don’t make reading a chore
As soon as reading becomes something that is a required, painful part of the day, you’ve lost. Keep reading fun and light. If your child doesn’t seem interested, then it’s time to get creative (not time to crack down)! It doesn’t take very many bad reading experiences before your child begins to develop a distaste for the important skill, and each positive experience not only builds their relationship with you, but also builds their love for reading. Remember to have fun with it, and your child will enjoy reading, too!
Reading is one of the most critical skills your child can learn, but a love of reading is one of the most important passions they can develop! Help your child build their love for reading by making reading a (fun, enjoyable) priority at home.
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