Some kids immerse themselves in reading as soon as they learn their ABCs and discover how to identify the symbols that represent these sounds. Others are not as interested in the prospect of entering an imaginary world when the real world all around them is so full of excitement and opportunities for exploration. Most kids like a good adventure, but they find it in different places. Of course, reading for fun is well and good, but it’s also an academic skill, and an important one at that. Studies have shown conclusively that children who read, and read profusely and proficiently, from an early age are more likely to exhibit better comprehension and ability in nearly every subject as they advance in school, while those that fail to read will probably fall further and further behind by the grade level. Reading is essential to gaining knowledge, so parents need to make sure that their children have the skills needed to succeed. If you’re looking for ways to help your kids overcome whatever barriers they face when it comes to reading, here are just a few tips that could lead to improvement.
- Testing. Struggles with reading don’t necessarily signal a problem; simple disinterest could be the cause. But for some kids, issues like dyslexia may be to blame. While most parents don’t want to believe that their children are prone to such problems, it’s far better to face the facts early on so that any issues with reading can be corrected post haste, giving your kids the best chance to stay at grade level where reading is concerned.
- Phonics. The practice of reading is really just associating sounds with symbols, in this case the letters of the alphabet. Of course, there’s also grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and other linguistic rules to learn, but reading really starts with seeing letters on a page and knowing what sounds they equate to. As you may or may not know, kids learn in different ways. Unfortunately, schools tend to teach by only one method, and it skews heavily towards visual learning. So if your kids are struggling, the solution could be as simple as introducing an auditory component, and phonics have been proven to help many kids master reading where they might otherwise fall far behind their classmates.
- Subject matter. When it comes to getting your kids to read, and even enjoy the process, it may be just as easy as figuring out what topics or genres they prefer. Some kids are sure to like action and adventure while others may prefer humor. Still others will like drama, mystery, or sci-fi. And there are all kinds of options for kids of every age, reading level, and area of interest. You just need to keep trying until your kids find something they like.
- Taking time. There is certainly a school of parenting that revolves around letting kids make their own choices when it comes to activities so that they will learn to be independent. But you also need to be involved with your kids, and you can encourage them to choose reading as a preferred activity by taking the time to read with them. Whether you pull out stories before bedtime each night or you have the whole family read books together, aloud, so that everyone is involved in the experience, your attentions could help to improve the reading skills of everyone in your home.
- Make a standing date for the library. Weekly trips to the library are a great way to get your kids invested in reading. Libraries may seem like nothing more than book repositories, but they’re really a portal to a million magical worlds just waiting to be unlocked. And all kids have to do is crack the cover of a book to discover new people and places. So make a date at the library a weekly standby and help your kids to find new materials to devour. It’s sure to improve their vocabulary, comprehension, and reading skills in general.