How Can I Help My Child Read and Enjoy Reading?

Updated on March 9, 2019
gerimcclym profile image

Geri McClymont is passionate about education. She holds an MEd and has taught ESL, Spanish, and special education students grades K-12.

As a parent, you are in a highly strategic position to help your child be a better reader.
As a parent, you are in a highly strategic position to help your child be a better reader. | Source

Parents Can Help Their Children Read Better

Many parents are frustrated because their child is a struggling reader or is not interested in reading. They wonder what they can do to help their child become a better reader. There is actually a lot parents can do to help their child read better. As a parent, you are in a highly strategic position to help your child be a better reader because:

  • your child spends more time with you than with most other people
  • your child looks up to you
  • your child will likely model your behavior
  • your child will listen to you (well, usually)

10 Ways to Help Your Child Read Better

  1. Model reading at home.
  2. Keep interesting reading material around the house.
  3. Have a designated family reading time.
  4. Read in fun places.
  5. Read print around you wherever you go.
  6. Visit your library regularly.
  7. Play games.
  8. Read to your child daily.
  9. Ask your child questions about his book.
  10. Create book projects.

Make sure your child sees you reading regularly.
Make sure your child sees you reading regularly. | Source

1. Model Reading at Home

Make sure your child sees you reading often. Whether it be reading the news with your morning coffee or reading a book or magazine for pleasure after dinner, the main thing is for your child to see you reading regularly.

It's also important for your child to see that you benefit from reading, such as by gaining valuable information about how to care for your family pet, or by simply gaining pleasure when you read a book of funny anecdotes. When your child sees your eyes light up with new knowledge you've acquired from a book, or hears you break out in laughter by the words on the page, he learns to view reading as a positive experience.

If you don't think it matters whether or not you read at home, think again. Your child is watching you and will model your behavior.

Keep a variety of interesting reading material floating around your house, including magazines, pamphlets, maps, and books.
Keep a variety of interesting reading material floating around your house, including magazines, pamphlets, maps, and books. | Source

2. Keep Interesting Reading Material Around

Magazines, books, maps, pamphlets, brochures, and other text that you keep around your house can elicit enough interest in your child that he will grab it and explore it. This is what you want, so keep a lot of it around!

Engage your child in dialogue related to the reading material, such as talking about an upcoming getaway to the mountains as you look at a map together. Show your child the itinerary you plan to take, and the places you’ll pass along the way. Then, when you actually take the road trip, your child can point to these places on the map as you pass them on the road.

Tap into your child's personal interests. What does he enjoy? Trains? Soccer? Guinea pigs? Gather material on that topic and keep it in a visible location in your house.

Do you enjoy reading?

See results

3. Have a Family Reading Time

Have a designated family reading time and place when everybody in the family reads. For example: At 7 - 8 pm every evening, everyone in the family selects something to read and hangs out in the living room together. Make it special by preparing hot chocolate or another treat to enjoy as you read. Wrap it up by having everybody share something they learned or enjoyed in their text.

Encourage your child to read to you or to a sibling or a pet during this time.

Read with your child in a variety of environments, including the great outdoors. Your child will learn to associate reading with pleasure.
Read with your child in a variety of environments, including the great outdoors. Your child will learn to associate reading with pleasure. | Source

4. Read in Fun Places

Reading in fun places such as under a shady tree on a nice day or on a picnic bench at a park will help your child associate reading with pleasure. The next time you plan a picnic or a trip to the park or the beach, ask your child to select a few books to take along. Take a few of your own books or magazines as well, so that you can read simultaneously.

Help your child create a fort at home where he can hide away and read with a flashlight. If he has a treehouse, let him read there. Deliver milk and cookies to the hungry reader in his hideout.

5. Read Print Around You

Wherever you are, encourage your child to read what is around him.

Examples:

  • store signs
  • restaurant and fast food menus
  • street signs
  • license plates
  • store labels

Reading signs and labels in his immediate environment within the context of everyday life will boost your child's confidence because reading becomes more meaningful to him. A menu is not just laminated cardstock; it contains options of delicious foods and tasty drinks. A license plate is not just a metal plaque on a vehicle; it give us clues on where the driver is from. A store sign helps us locate the place where we can buy sports equipment or toys or whatever it is we are looking for.

Have a designated day each week when you take your child to the library. Make sure you browse the shelves and check a book out too!
Have a designated day each week when you take your child to the library. Make sure you browse the shelves and check a book out too! | Source

6. Visit Your Local Library

Visit your local library regularly. Many books have accompanying CDs. Listening to the narrator read the book as your child follows along on the page helps him become a better reader because he learns to associate the sounds of the words with their visual representations.

Help your child locate books on topics of high interest to him. If he is old enough, encourage him to get his own library card. It's free!

Make sure you check something out too each time you visit the library.

7. Play Games

Play fun games with your child that involve words and reading.

Some examples:

  • When you are on the road, ask your child how many different state license plates he can find, or how many words he can find beginning with the letter c (or any other letter). Just make sure it doesn’t distract you from driving!
  • Board games
  • Card games

It’s important to start reading with your child from the time he is very young. This will instill in your child a love for books and for reading.
It’s important to start reading with your child from the time he is very young. This will instill in your child a love for books and for reading. | Source

8. Read To Your Child

Read to your child daily. It doesn't have to be at bedtime. Just find a time that works for you. Ideally, reading together should begin when your child is very young. Picture books with rhyming and repetition have been proven to be very successful in helping children learn to read. The ongoing rhyming and repetition, coupled with colorful images, serve to reinforce letter sounds, endings, and sight word recognition.

The parent-child bond can be strengthened while reading together and can cultivate a deep fondness in your child for reading. Never underestimate the power you have as a parent to help instill a passion for reading in your child.

You can start by reading the whole book to your child. As your child acquires some words, pause before the words he knows and allow him to read them or allow him to complete the sentences. As he acquires more words, take turns reading one page each. His confidence will soar as he realizes he is reading words, and then entire pages, on his own.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

— Dr. Seuss

9. Ask Your Child Questions About His Book

Ask your child specific questions about his book after he reads, and show sincere interest in knowing about his book. Make sure the timing is right, such as after dinner when you are more relaxed. Take the time to really listen to your child as he responds.

Some questions you might ask:

  • What is the book about?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • Who is your favorite character? Why?
  • Who is your least favorite character? Why?
  • What is the setting of the story?
  • Is there a conflict? What is it?
  • Are you enjoying the book? Why or why not?
  • What is your favorite part in the book so far? Why?
  • What is your least favorite part in the book so far? Why?

Allow your child's responses to your inquiries to guide you as you ask additional questions so that you engage in a natural dialogue with your child about his book. Your child's responses will tell you how well he is understanding what he reads.

This craft for the classic, Rapunzel, can be made with a little yarn, glue, and colored paper or felt.
This craft for the classic, Rapunzel, can be made with a little yarn, glue, and colored paper or felt. | Source

10. Create Projects

After your child finishes reading a book, create a project associated with the book. For example, make puppets of the characters out of socks or popsicle sticks, and put on a puppet show of a scene in the book. Create a diorama box for the book, or make a craft associated with the book topic.

Your child's enthusiasm for reading will increase tenfold if he knows there will be a fun project he gets to make after he completes the book!

Nightly Reading Homework: Best Practices for Parents

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Geri McClymont

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • gerimcclym profile imageAUTHOR

        Geri McClymont 

        5 months ago

        John, It is encouraging to hear about your sons' journeys with literacy, and the role you played as a parent to help them read. Every child is different but parents can always take steps to reach them, according to their unique interests and personalities. I could not agree more with your comments about books with rhyming and lively pictures. I will need to add this to my article. Thanks for stopping by and for your valuable feedback.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        5 months ago from Queensland Australia

        You offer great advice here. I raised four children(all now adults) and always read to them and encouraged them to read. My eldest is an avid reader and is like a vacuum cleaner absorbing new information.'

        The others developed reading at different times and in their own ways. I found my youngest would only read something if it really interested him. For instance, we found he was avidly interested in turtles so took him to the library and he borrowed every book he could find on the creatures and devoured the information.

        I find that when children are very little they love rhyming books with bright and funny pictures. Don't undervalue rhyme early on. I credit Dr Seuss for infecting me with a love of reading.

      • gerimcclym profile imageAUTHOR

        Geri McClymont 

        5 months ago

        Thanks for stopping by, Dora. The home environment is where a passion for books and literacy can be cultivated, and it is indeed sad when this doesn't happen.

      • gerimcclym profile imageAUTHOR

        Geri McClymont 

        5 months ago

        Thanks for your comments, Ann. I agree that there is so much reading material around us every day, and being rushed often prevents us from noticing it.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 months ago from The Caribbean

        Your article is right on! I help elementary school children with their homework and some of them cannot read; neither do they show any interest in reading. I'm convinced that their attitude is homespun. Hope your readers would see the importance of your counsel.

      • annart profile image

        Ann Carr 

        5 months ago from SW England

        Lots of great ideas here. As a retired teacher of literacy to dyslexics, I heartily agree with all your suggestions. It's amazing how much reading material there is out and about, if you just look around you - many people miss this in the rush of daily life. Even on a journey children can read signs and road-side information.

        Great hub!

        Ann

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)