Just because your child already has started school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to read to him or her at home.
While most of us are familiar with the benefits of reading to small children and toddlers, many are not as aware that continuing to read with young, school-age children will help them perform better in school.
Indeed, the National Education Association has issued some helpful tips for reading at home to and with young children who currently attend kindergarten through third grade.
* Keep reading to your children even after they can read alone. Read books together that are too difficult or long for them to read alone.
* Begin to help them sample books with chapters and talk about what is happening in these stories. Encourage your children to make predictions about what will happen next, and connect characters or events to those in other books and stories.
* Talk with your kids about reading preferences that are beginning to develop. Does your child prefer adventure stories, mysteries, science fiction, animal stories, or stories about other children? Offer encouragement and ask them to explain their reasons for preferences.
* Engage your children about favorite authors and help find additional books by those authors.
* Take turns reading a story with your child. Don’t interrupt to correct mistakes that do not change the meaning.
* Talk about the meaning of new words and ideas introduced in books. Help your child think of examples of new concepts.
* Talk with your child about stories using the notions of the beginning, middle, and end of the story to organize thinking and discussion.
* Ask why a character might have taken a specific action. Ask for information from the story to support these answers.
* Enjoy yourself and have fun. The most important thing you can do to help your child become a successful reader is communicate that reading is valuable and enjoyable
The research is clear: children who are read to, and who read for pleasure, are significantly more successful in school than children who do not.
For tips on encouraging reading habits among both young and older children, visit www.nea.org/parents, where you can also find information about math, science and other subjects, as well.