How to make your child a good reader

Our teachers constantly preach that we should be reading to our children every night for 20 minutes. While it might seem random, there are actually some great benefits to that magical number.

Reading is like food for your brain. Your brain actually develops as you feed it with the experience of reading. It improves listening skills and academic success. For every year that a person spends reading (either independently or being read aloud to), his/her lifetime earning potential goes up considerably. For a time investment of approximately 87 hours a year (20 minutes a day for 5 days a week), you can increase your child’s ability to support him or herself in the future considerably.

A student who reads 20 minutes per day will read 1,800,000 words by the end of the sixth grade, compared with a student who reads one minute per day, who will read only 8,000 words. The student who reads one minute per day will only read .004% of what the 20 minute reader will read. That’s a huge difference!

Here are some tips on getting your child into the habit of reading and making it less of a chore.

1. Make reading part of your routine. For most, that means at bedtime. Children who are read to out loud make significant gains in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and the decoding of words.

2. Encourage them to read everywhere. This includes menus, road signs, and movie posters.

3. Make sure they have plenty of varied reading material available to them. Also, make sure they bring it with them to doctor’s appointments or anything where waiting is involved.

4. Be a library groupie. Learn about programs going on, story times, and other fun things. Kids love having the ability to pick out books to take home. We have a basket where all library books stay. This helps prevent lost books.

5. Be savvy about your materials. Don’t limit it to books. Use books, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials. Games allow kids to work on reading skills while playing.


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