HELPING YOUR CHILD BECOME A READER
Teaching children to read today is much easier than it was in the past. The reason this is so is there are number of wonderful programs that teach basic reading skills to children as young as three. The best-known is ABCmouse which runs around $70 and a number of parents who used it said it’s wonderful. If you Google ‘teaching children to read” you’ll find there are literally hundreds of free programs designed to help children of different ages and different reading skills. You must sit with your children while they are using these programs. Parental involvement at all stages of learning to read is essential.
When discussing this subject with parents 4 out of 260 said they didn’t own a computer. I told them to go to their local library and use Google to find inexpensive and free computers. So for the rest of this blog I will assume everyone has a computer or can get one,
I always rely on research when giving advice and I will do so here. There is overwhelming statistical evidence if parents read to their children they are more likely to become readers. You can and should read tg them anytime but particularly at bedtime because that is what most parents do and it works. I suspect since reading becomes part of a fun activity they are attracted to it.
Research also shows that children copy their parents. So you not only should read to them but in front of them. I asked children who read and who did not read if their parents read at home. Parents who regularly read books in front of their children had children who were almost four times more likely to read for entertainment than parents who did not. This is the most significant statistic I ran across. Avid readers find books not only a source of information but entertainment.
What they read was also important. If parents read newspapers it Increases the chances their children will read but not as much as if they read books. Today many books are on tablets, iPhones etc., as long as the children understand that their parents are using these electronic devices to read It has a positive effect. Since many children misunderstand how their parents use these devices, parents have to explain it to them. Off hand comments like “This is a terrific book”,will solve the problem. Then and only then reading on your iPad or iPhone in front of your children will encourage them to read.
Several independent studies over a period of decades have shown, if you read in front of your children even when they are infants they are more likely to read.
Although working with your children is very important when they are using these wonderful reading programs you must be careful not to interfere with the learning process. These programs have been worked out by experts and they do work. Between ages 3 and 5 you should be very hesitant commenting negatively on anything the app is suggesting. There is one exception to this rule. These programs often encourage children to continue reading by rewarding them with success in an area that is more a video game than a learning tool. That’s fine, except it encourages some children to stop because they are having so much fun where they are. Parents should encourage them to move forward.
Once they have mastered basic reading skills, the real work begins. You are going to be competing with video games, television and a variety of other activities they will find more entertaining than reading. You must insist that they read and set aside a specific time for doing so. Children on a strict schedule do much better than children who read now and then.
Some children like reading from the very beginning and are easy to make into readers, Girls are more likely than boys to become early readers because they usually enjoy reading. But whether they enjoy these sessions is not important they must read and continue reading. The best way to get children to read is to give them material they enjoy. I know it offended some people but the books that probably had more children reading than any others are the Harry Potter books and unless you are deeply offended by them I suggest you get them for your children. It doesn’t make any difference what they read as long as they read material they really enjoy. If you look through the sites I recommended on Google you will find lists of books boys and girls will enjoy a different ages.So if you want your children to become readers find them books they enjoy not books you enjoy.
One final word just because a child is sitting there with a book doesn’t mean they’re reading or understanding what they read. So if you have to hold your nose while doing it read the books they are reading or get a Teacher’s Editions with the test questions included. That will enable you to ask them what they read and what they understood. Don’t wait for them to read the entire book before you ask questions. Ask questions after each chapter and unless their answers are up to your expectations have them reread and reread until they are.
The good news is almost all of them will become readers, the bad news is it’s more work for the parents than it is for the kids.
Good luck !
PLEASE READ THIS
If you’re interested in your child’s future, I suggest you read my earlier blog on stopping bullying. It will help if your child is being bullied and especially if a child has never been bullied.. On today’s politically correct college campuses your child’s application or his grades will not even be read, if it indicates anywhere on their record he or she was involved in bullying. This blog will tell you how to discover if that’s taking place and believe me you don’t know.