At Ooka Island, we often hear from parents asking the same question: “Have I done enough to prepare my child for the school year ahead?” You are not alone! Many of us parents are worrying that we haven’t prepared our kids enough, especially when it comes to their reading skills.
Helping your child learn to read is one of the most important ways that you can support their education. Studies have shown that parental involvement is key to student success… no pressure right? With that in mind, here are our top 5 tips for you to help your child become a happy and confident reader:
1. Develop a Reading Routine
As with learning any new skill, from playing piano to snowboarding, consistent practice is key to mastery. Set aside a little time each day for your child to practice their reading skills. Whether it replaces morning cartoons before school or becomes part of their bedtime routine at night, a consistent routine will help make your child feel comfortable and stable, allowing them to focus on developing their skills and enjoying reading. Turn reading time into family time by cozying up together in a quiet corner of the house with comfy pillows and chairs.
2. Take Every Opportunity to Read with Your Child
Reading isn’t just about sitting down quietly to read a book. Your child’s world is filled with words. Wherever you go, you can always find something new to read – from cereal boxes to street signs and subways ads – words are everywhere. Make it a fun game for you and your child to find new words out in the wild. This is a great way to practice their skills and expand their vocabulary. You can make learning to read fun for your child by playing word and letter games like scrabble and using screentime for game based reading programs like Ooka Island.
3. Talk About What You Are Reading
Reading on a regular basis with your child provides wonderful bonding time. Use reading as an opportunity to connect with your child about what is happening in their life. For example, if you are preparing for kindergarten, read a book about starting school. Before starting to read, look at the pictures and ask your child to predict what the story is about. As you are reading with them, ask them questions and gauge their comprehension. After finishing the book, talk about the characters and other ways the story could have ended. These are all easy ways to help your child connect to the story, keeping them engaged and excited about reading.
4. Be an Enthusiastic Reading Partner
Building trust and making your child feel supported is key to helping them learn to read. As you read with them, be patient, gently correcting any mistakes and encouraging your child to reread the entire sentence. Remember, your reactions will influence your child’s behaviour, so do your best not to bribe, criticize or add pressure by making a big deal about mistakes. Instead, give positive feedback and show genuine excitement over their desire to read.
5. Be a Reading Role Model
The best way to foster a love of reading in your child is to lead by example. Children mimic your behaviour, so let them catch you in the act of reading for pleasure. Fill your home with books, magazines and newspapers and let your children see the joy that reading brings to your life. If you reinforce a positive attitude around reading, your children will naturally gravitate to and enjoy reading!
Good luck and happy reading!