- Read to your child
Teaching your child to read is truly a process that begins at infancy. Begin reading with your newborn within days of welcoming her home! Not only is this a special bonding time for the two of you, it instills in her a love for books.
Enjoyment while reading is one of the single greatest predictors of reading success in school-age children. If children don’t learn from an early age to enjoy reading, it will most likely hinder their ability sometime down the road.
- Ask questions
Asking questions while reading to your child is not only great for encouraging your child to interact with the book, but it is also extremely effective in developing his ability to comprehend what he is reading. You see, if our main objective in “reading” is getting our child to “sound out” words, we have missed the boat entirely.
Even children who can decode words and “read” with great fluency still might not be able to comprehend what they are reading. If a child can’t comprehend what he is reading, there really is no point to reading at all!
- Be a good (reading) example
Even if your child is fascinated with books from an early age, her fascination will quickly dwindle if she does not see reading modeled in her home.
If you are not an avid reader yourself, make a conscious effort to let your children see you reading for at least a few minutes each day! Read a magazine, a cookbook, a novel, your Bible…it’s up to you! But show your child that reading is something that even adults need to do.
- Incorporate multiple domains of development
Children learn best when multiple senses or areas of development are included. That’s why hands-on learning produces longer retention and more meaningful application.
Once your child has shown an interest in letters and you have already begun to utilize natural settings for identifying those letters, begin implementing activities that incorporate as many senses as possible. Keep in mind that learning letter names isn’t nearly as important as learning their sounds!
- Classify the Genre
Once your child is around 5 and can recognize the difference between real and make-believe, I would suggest starting to help your child understand various genres of books during your reading time together.
This might seem complicated, but it’s really not. There are around 5 different genres of children’s books that I would encourage you to point out to your little one. Of course you can use the term “type” rather than “genre” if that is easier to remember.