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Reading Tips for Families

Do you ever wonder how you can get your child interested in reading? Or how can you get your child to read more and watch television less? Many parents ask these questions. Parents can help their children learn to love reading right in their own homes!

Promoting literacy in your home does not mean that you must create an academic setting and formally teach your child how to read. Instead, parents should take advantage of "real life" opportunities to share reading with their children.

Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Establish a daily "Drop Everything and Read" time for your family when the television is turned off and everyone reads for 15 minutes. When your DEAR time is over, each family member can briefly summarize what he/she read, talk about a favorite part, or share new and interesting facts. Other members of the family can ask questions if they like. Learning to talk about books will improve your child's reading comprehension.

  • Read aloud together every day. Make it fun by reading outdoors in the backyard, at the park, or at the beach. Some parents with older children read the same story aloud to everyone at the dinner table or before bedtime. A family book discussion over the same book is an excellent enrichment. Parents should also allow children to read to them.

  • Read and enjoy the same books, magazines, and newspapers. Talk about how these readings remind you of something in your life. Ask your child to make connections to the book as well.

  • Show your child that reading is fun! Laugh out loud, make comments, and share what you read.

  • Buy books on tape, and listen to them in the car together. Or better yet, turn off the television and listen to them as a family.

  • Give a gift subscription to a magazine that holds lots of interest, one that your child wants to read cover to cover.

  • Visit the library together. Apply for a library card. Ask your librarian about special materials and reading programs that are available for your child's interests and needs.

  • Create your own mini-library at home with your family's favorite books.

  • When your child is reading a difficult book, read the text aloud or read together. Go back and reread for better understanding. Talk about what parts are hard to understand and encourage your child to ask for help.

  • Make trips a way to encourage reading. Read aloud traffic signs and billboards. Show your children how to read a road map and let them help navigate. Select books together that you will take along on the trip.

  • Celebrate reading! Give your child a book to celebrate a birthday or special occasion.

  • Take your child to the bookstore to look at books about their favorite topics. Make a list of books you and your child would like to read.

  • Computer time can be reading time. There are many programs for children that build reading skills. Let your child help you "surf the Internet." Send letters via email to family or friends who are out of town.

  • Provide your child with a reliable home dictionary and encyclopedia. Encourage children to look up subjects that puzzle or interest them.

  • Catch each other reading! Reading is everywhere; and the more we practice, the better readers we all become.


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