Reading Tips from KNEA Members
- Read to your child often. Make a pleasant experience of the event, making sure the session is relaxed and unhurried. Let your child choose a favorite story and explain pictures and answer questions about it. As time goes by you can stop in the middle of a familiar story and ask what happens next. This encourages memory skills and reinforces the material in the text.
- Begin talking to your child from infancy. Make sounds, call attention to sounds and connect them with objects and events. Talk to the child and explain activities as you perform them. Listen and encourage conversation with you. Answer questions patiently and as promptly as possible. Play listening games with your child. A good bedtime game is to listen quietly and identify as many sounds as possible - heartbeats, breathing, traffic. Listening attentively is essential in learning.
- When your child is learning to read, try "labeling" household objects with the child's name printed in bold letters on masking tape; encourage the reading of signs, posters, everything.
- Besides regular children's materials, read aloud from ordinary books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements. Your child will begin to recognize the fact that the printed word is a part of every day life that conveys useful, interesting and amusing information. Set a good example by reading yourself in the child's presence, thus establishing the idea that reading is an enjoyable and rewarding activity.
- Introduce your child to the wonders of the public library at an early age. Sometimes during shopping trips browse there answering questions about various books and other printed materials. As soon as possible, a child should be allowed to apply for a library card and choose books. Encourage frequent use of the school library.
- Read and discuss books brought home for possible school projects or during family sharing periods. Subscribe to a children's magazine. Children love the idea of having their very own periodical.
- Make certain the reading area is comfortable and well-lit. Take special note of any signs of reading difficulty that may be caused by poor eyesight. If such problems are noted, take prompt action either through your own physician or through the school nurse's office.
- Search out the better television programs for children. Public television, especially, provides a wealth of interesting and educational programming. Take the opportunity to watch some of the productions along with your child. Discuss the programs. Note comments and try to answer questions. When words are shown, ask that they be read to you or you read them to the child.
- Before you select books for birthday or Christmas, ask the teacher's advice. Books tailored for the child's age-group and skill in reading as well as those that dovetail with topics and times being studied in school will make the book more readable and therefore more enjoyable. Also when selecting books for gifts provide those of "special" interest to the child.
- When your child is writing a school report, show that information from several sources is better than relying on just one book. This way the child will get acquainted with the wide world of "available sources" that are on any given topic.
- Hang up a large chalkboard on which to write messages. Have a family bulletin board, too, and occasionally pin up cartoons and short magazine articles you think your child will enjoy.
- Encourage the writing and addressing of personal greeting cards, invitations and thank you notes, writing your grocery lists putting names in your address book. Suggest a backyard "mail box for exchanging regular letters with the child next door. Write notes and letters to your children. Encourage a written reply. Give praise for all efforts in writing.
- Word games like Scrabble can help increase your child's vocabulary and improve spelling. There are many games that have junior versions. Ask the salesperson.
- If at any age your child seems "turned off by reading, don't make an issue of it. Casually leave "irresistible" books around - books on whatever the child's current interests are.
REMEMBER! Listen with interest, encourage and ask questions, be generous with praise, enthusiasm and sympathy. You can bridge the gap between home and school and make learning fun for both you and your child.
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