How to Get Your Child to Love to Read

There is hardly anything better than reading to open the doors to the entire universe of experiences. There is hardly anything more valuable that a parent can give to a child for the long run than an appreciation of reading. It is even better for the parent to show a genuine love of reading and expresses this while teaching the child to learn to read.

Once children have learned to read entirely on their own, it is important to maintain a regular regime of reading aloud together...even if it is only a few times a week at a regularly scheduled time so that the children learn to anticipate it. When the children read stories that are intrinsically interesting, but are a bit above their reading level, parents are enabling them to stretch their capabilities and understanding while also motivating them to advance their reading skills. And if there are several children in the household, parents should try to adjust their schedule so that they are able to spend some time reading alone with each child.

Now, parents don't have to spend an enormous amount of time reading with their children. And it isn't important whether they are themselves skilled readers. It is really all about the quality time that parents and children spend together, sharing in the reading adventure.

Long before children notice that there are printed words on the pages of books and magazines, they learn to appreciate the sound of language. Reading aloud with them helps them acquire listening skills and prepares them to understand written words. When the sounds of language become an integral part of children's lives, their learning to read will be as straightforward as their having learned to speak.

Parents should remember as they begin working with their children that they are each in a very different places. Children don't come into the world knowing that words on a page are formed by groups of letters, that letters come in two forms (capital/uppercase and small/lowercase letters), or even that words (in English) are sequenced on a page from left to right. So, at the beginning, it's a good idea to gently bring these matters to their attention.

Younger children often seem to become fixated on one particular book or story and beg parents to read or tell it repeatedly. Although this may concern some parents, particularly if they themselves become somewhat bored with the repetition. But patience is called for because there is probably something in the material that is addressing the child's interests or emotional needs. And introducing a new story or book before repeating a favorite will introduce the child to the idea that even more fascinating materials await them in the days ahead.

Even though the child may initially grow fond of a particular book or story because of its entertainment value, parents should be alert to the opportunities presented for teaching on a larger scale. When the story-reading is over, consider beginning a conversation with the child about the characters in the story. Which are the favorite? Why? How do the characters relate to one another? Are there some hints in the story about their values and expectations? What are the possible consequences of their actions? Is there a moral that can be expressed in an age-appropriate way to the child?

Starting early in the child's life and continuing to regularly read aloud together until the child is regularly reading alone will foster a life-long appreciation for reading ... an appreciation that cannot but help the individual understand an increasingly complex world.

Michael Levy is a teacher who has published more than 250 articles about learning. His latest project is Reading Buddy 2.0, software for teaching children to learn to read basic English using an innovative syllabics methodology. Would you like to know for sure if your child is really ready to learn to read? Claim your free copy of Reading Buddy 2.0.

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