How to Help Your Child Improve His Reading Skills

Updated on November 24, 2017
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Dreamworker has taught in schools nationwide for 26 years in grades 6-12; including blind, handicapped, at-risk, and ESOL students.

One of the best things parents can do for their children is to help them to improve their reading skills.

This is because doing so will help their kids to do better in school and in life.

It will also introduce them to new worlds and give them endless hours of healthy entertainment.


Don't Depend on Schools

It is a mistake to assume that schools will provide all of the skills your children need.

Classrooms are crowded and workloads are heavy, so teachers have little time available for helping struggling students with their reading problems.

Thus, unless parents help them, children these kids generally fall behind in school, begin to feel threatened by books and often retreat into video games and computers.

#1 Become a Reading Role Model

One of the best things people can do to inspire a love of reading in their children is to let their kids see them reading books themselves!

Children look up to their parents, so when they see them enjoying a good book, it makes them think that this might be something good for them to do as well.

When children see their parents reading, it encourages them to read, also.
When children see their parents reading, it encourages them to read, also. | Source

#2 Keep Reading Materials Available in the House

Whenever I visit someone’s home and see that there are no visible reading materials, I have to wonder whether anybody in the house is a reader.

In order for kids to read, you have to keep books and magazines available.

Doing this lets children know that parents value these things and makes them want to value them as well.

When providing such materials, parents should always make sure they are of good quality because reading low level books and magazines is never good for children.

#3 Visit the Library

Most libraries have special sections geared to children and provide activities that are meant to perk an interest in reading..

When you take your child to a library, you also are sharing a special time with him that you can enjoy together.

This is so much better than having both of you sitting with your noses in computers!

The best part is that you can borrow books at no charge and attend many of library activities for free.

#4 Read to Your Child

Even though I’m in my 70’s now, I can still remember my parents reading a bedtime story to me every night. I also remember sitting on my father’s lap while he read the Sunday funnies to me.

My mother didn’t read much, but my father loved books and always had one in his hands. I believe it is from him that I got my own love of reading.

Reading to children is very important. (The attached video explains why)

When they are old enough to read on their own, you can do a brief “book report” that gives them the beginning of a story, but not the middle or end.

If they like what they've heard, their curiosity will make them want to read the rest of the book!

#5 Provide Books Kids Can Read Themselves

Children have varying levels of reading abilities.

  • If you give them books that are too hard for them to read, they’ll balk.
  • However, if you provide materials that are interesting and easy for them to read they’ll be encouraged.

You should make it a point to find out which books their friends are reading and then keep some of them available in the house.

There are many from which to choose, and you can find all of them by searching “books for children” on the internet.

#6 Introduce the Classics

Just as with adults, kids have different tastes in books.

While many like the new ones, such as the Harry Potter series, there are a number of classics that every child will love reading.

Black Beauty, Heidi, The Secret Garden, Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller are just a few of those that can be found in any library.

#7 Choose Reading Material They Like

When children say they “hate” reading, what they really mean is that they don’t like reading textbooks or any other type of dry reading because these materials are difficult for them to understand.

The best way to entice kids with this attitude is to allow them to start with comic books and slowly move them on to more advanced books and magazines.

One book that I have used often is How to Teach Children to Love Reading. I have used this myself to help my struggling grandson, and it has worked miracles for him. It's one of the few out there that is easy for family members to use with their kids and is an invaluable resource.

If you combine its use with the other methods I mention here, you'll find your kids begging to read!

If you keep a small library in your child’s room that represents a variety of subjects and reading levels, at some point his curiosity will lead him to them.

Reading some of them to him will also make him see that they're not so bad after all!

#8 Discuss What Your Kids Read

Always ask your child what he is reading, and try to create a discussion about his current book.

Doing this expands his thinking, creates a bond between you and also increases his knowledge base.

Be Proactive

Doing all of the above things may take some time, but the results are more than worthwhile.

Whether it is a comic book or one of Shakespeare’s plays, there is a book for every ability level.

This is why giving your child the gift of reading is such a good thing for you to do. It's a present nobody can ever take away from him, and is one that he can use and enjoy throughout his entire life.

Have you used any of these methods with your own children?

See results

© 2017 Sondra Rochelle


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