7 ways to help kids read

1. Become a reader

Kids will follow the example of those around them. So if you want your children to become avid readers, demonstrate that you are interested in reading too.

Even if you don’t have time to read novels, you can read magazines or short articles. Talk about books with your children and make sure books or reading materials are readily available in your household.

2. Enrich children’s language

Anything that increases children’s understanding of how language works, or their vocabulary will also help them to read.

Why? Because an understanding of language structure allows them to anticipate what certain words might be and also promotes better reading comprehension.

For example, a child may not be able to read the word “quickly” in isolation, but may be able to guess it when seeing an entire sentence: “The dog ran quickly.”

So talking (a lot!) and conversations with children, or naming objects for younger children, will help reading development. So do singing songs and exposure to nursery rhymes. Also, defining unknown words as you come across them will also expand children’s vocabulary.

3. Write stories

Writing requires the skills needed for reading.

Encourage children to write their own stories or for younger children their own names or specific words.

Writing and having to spell out words also helps children recognise letters, learn spelling and understand that letters make sounds.

4. Reading material should suit the child

This may sound pretty obvious, but kids will enjoy reading more if they like the subject matter.

Allow children to choose their own reading materials where possible. Also be conscious that beginner readers will find it easier to read material that has larger fonts.

5. Read and be read to

Read with your child regularly, and make it fun!

As with most things, the more you practice it the better you get. Regular reading encourages reading habits, confidence and enjoyment.

Also, encourage children to read to you.  Be guided by the interest and strengths of your child.

It may not be appropriate to ask them to read something entirely by themselves. Instead, if you are reading a book to them, you can give them the opportunity to read certain items to you, such as chapter headings or specific sentences.

For younger children or children that need to develop confidence, invite them to read out loud simple words in the text you are reading to them that they are likely to know already.

Try and make the experience as enjoyable as possible for both of you. For example, don’t try and finish a book on a night your child is too tired to concentrate.

6. Ask questions

Have conversations and ask questions about what your child is reading. This helps children to develop reading comprehension and enjoyment. It also demonstrates that you are interested in what they are doing.

7. Re-read favourite books

It might be boring to read a book for the tenth time for adults, but this is doing so much to help your child develop reading skills. Repetition assists with comprehension, language fluency and confidence.

Often the first book a child will read by themselves is one they have listened to several times previously. So whether it is rereading a book to your child, or your child reading a book by themselves for the fifth time, it is building their skills.

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