Planting the Reading Seed

How to raise a child who reads

Books in the home

Children benefit from a print-rich environment. To encourage children to read, parents should ensure that print materials abound in the home. Books, magazines, and comic books contribute to having a print heavy home. Parents do not have to spend a lot of money on purchasing books, but rather they can check them out from libraries or bookmobiles. The beauty of using library resources is that children have a continual flow of books.

Parents have an advantage because they know their children's interests and can provide them with the types of books and magazines that would appeal to their children. Children often become experts on topics that interest them.

Read, Read, Read to your child

Read to your child and read for yourself

Children can benefit from having parents read stories and articles to them. This is a tremendous way to encourage reading while spending time together. Give children choice in the books that you read together.

Parents also need to model reading for their children. Your children need to observe you reading for your own enjoyment,learning, or enrichment.

Model Tracking with Younger Children

When parents read to their children, they should move their fingers along the words as they read them aloud. Tracking in this way teaches children how to track words with their eyes as they read. Tracking with the fingers and then later with the eyes only builds fluency. Just make sure that you model tracking with your finger underneath the words, not above, using a smooth, continuous motion.

Model Thinking Process

As you read with your young children, model how you are thinking while reading. Preview a new book by looking at pictures or images. Stop periodically and ask questions about what was just read. Make connections between what you are reading and prior knowledge or experiences you have. The key here is to do this naturally, rather than making it didactic. Do not take the fun out of the reading!

Build on Child's Questions and Interests

Use a child's questions as an excuse for reading. If your son or daughter wants to know why ladybugs are attracted to a certain side of the house, then use the question as an opportunity to read up on ladybug habits. If your child has a specific interest (say she loves The Walking Dead television show), then share a book or magazine article about the topic (say the comic book that the television show is based on) with them.