How To: Encourage Your Child To Read
Reading Can Be Fun
Reading Can Be Difficult
I have two daughters. They both knew their letters and sounds before they started kindergarten. My older daughter could read on her own before she was three years old. My younger daughter didn’t start reading until she was in kindergarten. My older daughter loved to read, and read everything put in front of her. She was reading chapter books in kindergarten. My younger daughter hated to read – she reads more now as an adult than she did when she was younger. What I didn’t know until much later was that my younger daughter was dyslexic. She was diagnosed when she was seventeen. She, nor her teachers, ever told me that she had a problem reading. When I found out that she was dyslexic, I asked her how she had managed to get through school being that dyslexic. She told me that she had just struggled along and had other people help her by pretending to help them. She didn’t like reading because it was such a struggle for her. If your child is struggling to read, or just doesn’t like to read, here are some ideas to help.
Read Cereal Boxes
Read cereal box - When I was young, I read everything I could. I loved to read. I used to get in trouble for bringing a book to the table when I should have been eating my breakfast. But the cereal box was almost always left on the table. It provided good reading material! Nowadays, cereal boxes – especially cereal made for children – have things on the boxes just for children. There are word search games and other games that involve reading. Even those boxes that are not made for children have lots of information. As a parent, you can have children look for certain letters or sounds as you eat breakfast. You can also look for sight words and easier words that your child can sound out themselves.
Read signs on way to school – There are billboards, restaurants, homes for sale, and many other types of signs on your daily drive. Have students read the words they know. Have them search for sight words. If they are not ready for sight words, have them look for letters or sounds.
Read Sight Words Around The House
Put sight words around the house to read – In many classrooms, teachers have sight word walls showing off words that students know how to read. You can bring this idea to your home, as well. You could put sight words on a particular wall and go over them on a daily basis. Or you could put the sight words throughout the house and have your child read them every time they see one.
Print out sight words – have child cut up words and put them back together – Once your child has typed out all of those words, have them cut them up, mix them up, and then put them back together to form the sight words. Have the child read them once they are put back together.
Read Sight Word or Alphabet Bingo
Make sight word/alphabet Bingo – Bingo cards are relatively easy to make and children love to play Bingo. Make cards of your own, or buy regular Bingo cards and cover the numbers with letters or sight words. Use your child’s sight word list or spelling list to call the words. Children will learn while playing!
Read In Games
Play sight word/alphabet twister – Use a mat from the game Twister or make one of your own. On each of the colored circles, put one sight word or letter. Play the game as directed. Again, children will have fun while learning.
Play sight word/alphabet connect four – Use flash cards with sight words or letters. When a child correctly reads one of the words, they get to make a move on the Connect Four “board.” A variant of this would be having words written on the checkers and children could read the word as they make their move.
Play sight word/alphabet Sorry – Place sight words or letters on the squares of the Sorry board. Children read the words or letters as they move around the board.
Play sight word/alphabet Cooties - My kids used to love the Cooties game. In this game, children build a Cootie piece by piece. Instead of using the cards included to build a piece, use sight words or letters. When the child gets the word correct, he or she can add a piece of cootie!
Play sight word/alphabet Toss Across – Toss Across is a game of tic-tac-toe that has a “board” that has a tic-tac-toe pattern. Each piece has three sides and you toss a bean bag across the board in hopes of turning enough of the pieces to make three in a row. I have covered the x’s and o’s with sight words or letters. Children read the words that are turned up.
Label everything in home – Another trick that teacher’s use is to label everything in the classroom. From the door, to the cabinets and cubbies to the children’s desks, everything in the classroom has a card with the name of the item written on it. You could do this at home, as well.
Sound out words in books – This one is a given. Read to your child each day. Have them help you read and have them help sound out the words in the story. You can do this with picture books or with chapter books. Your children will love the time you spend with as they learn.
Read stories daily – Most of us read stories to our children at bedtime when they are little. Why not continue that tradition as they grow. Even children who are great readers love it when they hear their parents read to them. As they progress in their reading, they can read along with you. I did this with my kids until they were in high school. It was a great time to bond over a good book!
Read On The Way To School
Play game trying to find every letter of the alphabet on the way to school, store, etc. – When my children were young, we would play a game looking for letters on signs and billboards as we drove on a long trip. You could do this on your drives around town. Just start with the letter “a” and work your way through the alphabet. You could also do this with sounds.
See how many sight words you can see on the way to school, store, etc. – Same as above, but using sight words instead. Children will be amazed at how many words they know in their community!
Read Using Technology
Play Starfall on the computer – Starfall.com is an excellent sight for children to learn letters and sounds. It has free lessons and lessons you can pay for. The free lessons are great and children love it. There are also sight word books and word family stories for children to read.
Find apps for iPad, computer, etc. – There are many, many apps for children’s learning. If you don’t have an iPad, there are just as many apps for android phones. Just pick a topic and you can find the app. There are apps for the alphabet, for sight words, and even for complete stories of every kind you can imagine.
Type sight words on computer/iPad – Have the child’s sight words or letters on a paper or on flash cards. Use a word program and have your child each word, saying the word or letter as they type. Children love any chance to use computers and tablets.
Read Through Spelling
Spell everything you say – My daughters and I played this game forever. During a car ride – long or short – we would have to spell everything we said. If they wanted to say “I love you, mom!” They would spell out I l-o-v-e-y-o-u-m-o-m. After a few minutes we would all be laughing because of the way things were spelled, or the way we responded to each other. You have to be very careful and listen before you reply to someone else!
Reading is such an important part of life. Without the ability to read, a person’s life becomes very limited. Although reading can be a struggle, it is important to teach your child how essential it is. Make reading fun, and don’t give up.
Read Comic Books
Read comics – Kids love comics and they are written in such a way that most of them are really easy to read. Kids love the bright pictures and the comics will keep their attention. I had one parent of a student who told me that his child would never read comics because they were “trash.” I disagreed and told him that at least the comics kept his son’s attention. I feel that there are almost no limits when it comes to getting a child to read!