Top Ten Ways to Improve Reading Skills
by Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed. S.
Nothing is more important to academic achievement than being a good reader. Parents know their children best and can provide the one-on-one time and attention that will lead them to success in reading. Here is a list of ways to help your children become more effective readers.
1. Set aside a regular time to read to your children each day.
Studies show that regularly reading out loud to children will produce significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words. Whether your children are pre-schoolers or pre-teens, it will increase the desire to read independently.
2. Surround your child with reading material.
Children with a large array of reading materials in their homes score higher on standardized tests. Tempt your child to read by having a large supply of appealing books and magazines at their reading level. Put the reading materials in cars, bathrooms, bedrooms, family rooms and even near the TV.
3. Have a family reading time.
Establish a daily 15 to 30 minute time when everyone in the family reads together silently. Seeing you read will inspire your child to read. Just 15 minutes of daily practice is sufficient to increase reading fluency .
4. Encourage a wide variety of reading activities.
Make reading an integral part of your children's lives. Have them read menus, roadside signs, game directions, weather reports, movie time listings, and other practical everyday information. Also, make sure they always have something to read in their spare time when they could be waiting for appointments or riding in the car.
5. Develop the library habit.
Entice your children to read more by taking them to the library every few weeks to get new reading materials. The library also offers reading programs for children of all ages that may appeal to your children and further increase their interest in reading.
6. Be knowledgeable about your child's progress.
Find out what reading skills they are supposed to have at each grade level. The school will give you this information. Track their progress in acquiring basic reading skills on report cards and standardized tests.
7. Look for reading problems.
Teachers may not always detect reading problems until they have become serious. Find out if your child can sound out words, knows sight words, can use context to identify unknown words, and clearly understands what he/she is reading.
8. Get help promptly for reading difficulties.
Reading problems do not magically disappear with time. The earlier students receive help, the more likely they will become good readers. Make sure your children receive necessary help from teachers, tutors, or learning centers as soon as you discover a problem.
9. Use a variety of aids to help your children.
Use textbooks, computer programs, books on tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun while they are learning.
10. Show enthusiasm for your children's reading.
Your reaction has a great influence on how hard they will try to become good readers. Be sure to give them genuine praise for their efforts.