It is important to start to nurture the passion for reading at an early age.
By the age of one, most children have an innate love of books.
They respond to the colors contained in the pictures, get pleasure from turning the pages and develop vocabulary, based on the words they hear from the pages of a book.
As your child gets older you can help to further develop their passion for reading.
They look forward to the entertainment and socialization gained from listening to a story, either one-on-one or at a story time session in a bookstore or library.
Eventually, the passion for reading begins to fade as it becomes a foundational skill needed to master all subject matters in school.
In an effort to further proficiency, it also becomes a nightly mandatory assignment.
Unfortunately, this allows some children to begin to view reading as an arduous task, and they lose the passion for reading.
A passion for reading needs to be nurtured throughout your child’s years of formal education; helping your emergent reader to gain the confidence to read out loud is one step.
Encouraging your middle school and high school student to read for “fun and entertainment” is another story.
For those who are slow to develop reading skills, the practice of reading out loud in class can bring stress, anxiety and embarrassment. By the middle of first grade he or she must now recognize a series of words quickly and effortlessly.
If word recognition is difficult, your child will use too much of their processing capacity to determine each individual word, which distracts from culling the meaning from the passage.
Even the best emergent readers can benefit from extra help to foster reading comprehension skills and a passion for reading.
Here are several at-home activities to help improve literacy, comprehension and nurture the passion for reading:
- Choose books together:
Visit your local library on a weekly basis and select age-appropriate books which will be interesting to your child. Make sure he or she is reading books that aren’t too hard and frustrating.
Your child should recognize (sight read) at least 90 percent of the words without assistance. If he or she must constantly stop to decode a word, it will make it tough to focus on the overall meaning of the story.
Select one book to read together, which is slightly more advanced. Preview the book and introduce the new words before you begin reading. Use flashcards to have your child become familiar with any new words.
Discuss the meaning of the word, prior to reading the story. After reading each book, ask your child to tell you what the book was about.
- Practice reading aloud:
Not only will reading out loud force your child to recite each word, but it will cause him or her to read slower and more confidently. Furthermore, your child is not only seeing the words, he’s hearing them, as well.
With practice, an emergent reader will be able to process what he or she reads more quickly and accurately, resulting in improved overall reading comprehension. Take turns reading aloud; many standardized tests require a student to listen to a passage and answer a series of questions.
Development of this skill at an early age will make the standardized tests less stressful for your child.
- Reread old favorites:
Create a reading nook in your home with a variety of books that you read to them when they were younger. Allow them to re-read the selections. Rereading old favorites allows your child to concentrate on decoding words quickly.
Since they have already heard the word before, they can process the contents and become more fluent in interpreting the meaning of the story.
- Hold a book club:
If you have more than one child, allow each of them read the same book before getting together to discuss it. Then, read the book aloud to your children and have a group discussion about what they read.
Verbal processing helps your child remember and think through the themes of the book. Ask questions before, during and after your “meeting” to help them prepare for the discussion. Before they go off to read the book independently, ask each participant to think about, “why they were interested (or not interested) in the book?”
Ask them to anticipate the following things, while they read the book: “What’s was going on in the book? Who is the main character and how is he or she like or different from you? Is the story unfurling the way you thought it would?
What do you think will happen next?” After you re-read the book with the “group” allow each child to summarize the story and tell what they liked about it.
- Discuss what they read in school:
Use carpool and dinner times to discuss the selections they read in school. Ask them to summarize a poem or book they heard in class. Elicit what they liked or didn’t like about the story.
Question your child about the author, illustrations and content of the book. Even if he or she can’t remember all the details the first time, if you child knows you will ask, he or she will pay attention more closely the next time.
Advancing your child’s passion for reading is a gift that they will redeem for their entire life.
According to Reading Is Fundamental, reading ignites the imagination and inspires learning the basic tools for success in school. It improves child development, leading to better grades and higher graduation rates. Who can argue with that?
March is Reading Awareness Month and the perfect time to ignite that passion for reading.