Every parent wants their children to succeed in school, and developing literacy skills at an early age is key to that success. However, it can be difficult to find the right ways to encourage young kids to read, especially when they are so young that they can’t even read yet.
To be successful in school, your child will need to develop strong literacy skills, which include being able to read and write with ease. This set of skills will help your child throughout their academic career, as well as their adult life, allowing them to communicate effectively through reading and writing.
Check out these eight ways parents can help their young kids develop literacy skills and get your family on the path to lifelong reading success.
Encourage Reading Anywhere, Anytime
Make it easy for your child to read by bringing books everywhere you go. You can even plan fun outings that revolve around visiting libraries and bookstores, like reading road trips and family dinners at local restaurants with great children’s menus. Don’t forget about reading before bed. Whether it’s a special story from mom or dad or a nightly ritual, reading in your child’s room before sleep builds a strong foundation for literacy skills.
Set an Example by Being a Reader
To help young kids learn to read, they must see you reading. Modeling a love of reading is one of the most effective ways to foster literacy in your kids. And just as importantly, make sure you teach your children how to read by reading with them and exposing them to print-rich environments in everyday life—on posters and product packaging, for example.
Enroll Them in a Good Preschool
One of your most important roles as a parent is to help prepare your child for kindergarten. One way to do that is by enrolling them in a quality preschool program. Preschool programs usually help develop early literacy skills, which can make it easier for children to succeed in school later on. Also, many studies have shown that preschools help children better adjust socially and emotionally, which can benefit them as they move into kindergarten. Preschool can also help teach kids phonics, which leads to an increased ability to read.
Read Aloud with Them
Reading to your children is a great way to bond, and it will also help them learn. Research shows that reading to children in their early years positively impacts literacy skills later on in life. Studies have shown that kids who are read to at home have better reading scores than their peers. Children between three and six need lots of practice listening to stories. Kids gain more understanding of what they hear. While some parents may feel uneasy questioning children about their thoughts, researchers say there’s no reason not to encourage open communication and curiosity.
Talk a Lot to Your Kids
You don’t have to be an expert on the topic; you need to be enthusiastic and interested. Have fun with it. Try reading a few picture books, or sit down and read your favorite book out loud. Let your kids ask questions about what you’re reading, answer any questions they might have. Talk about how great it feels to read something interesting or funny. You might notice that as you talk to your kids more often, they start talking back — and asking questions.
Choose Quality Over Quantity Books
Reading to your children is a great way to improve their literacy skills. Even if you read them only one book per day, your child will begin to pick up on words, sentence structure, and general vocabulary over time. However, it’s best not to stick solely with picture books or baby books. Instead, choose books rich in vocabulary and designed for older kids. It will help prepare your children for school-age learning as they grow older.
Have Them Tell You a Story
Ask your child to tell you a story and then repeat it back to you. If they are young, give them some help at first by asking questions such as: So, who was in your story? What happened next? As they get older, pull out any words that seem unfamiliar. Ask for details on characters, setting, and plot, and see if you can find ways for them to express these ideas more clearly.
Take Turns and Discuss What You’ve Read
Taking turns reading with your child not only helps them build their vocabulary but is also a great way to bond. Ask questions like, What happened in that story? What do you think is going to happen next? Let your little ones answer as they make predictions about what will come next. You can even finish sentences for them and talk about how those words make you feel.
Teaching kids to read at an early age will be very beneficial to them in the long run. Not only will it boost their literacy skills, but it will also help them gain a richer vocabulary.