Teaching your child to read may be one of the most important things you do as a parent. When your child can read, the whole world opens up to them. They will be able to read not only for fun but will understand signs, food labels, and instructions. But beyond that, our very freedom is based on having a well-read and educated society.
One of the most important tips in regards to teaching your child to read is to simply make time for it just you would for physical exercise, school or other important activities. How can you as a parent create a reading schedule for each child and a location that works for everyone involved?
Read at the Same Time Each Day
One of the easiest ways to remember your child’s reading schedule is to do it at the same time each day. Make it a habit for your child that cannot be quickly forgotten. For example, perhaps you could read with your child after they have eaten a small snack when they arrive home from school or just before bed. The more you turn reading into a habit, the less of a fight it will be to get everyone to consistently cooperate and the more enjoyable your child will find reading to be in the end.
Make an Easy-to-Understand Schedule for Your Child
Put a schedule where it is easily viewable, like the refrigerator door, by your child that is easy to read and understand. Make it clear that reading will happen at a certain time each day of the schedule. This way, your child can begin to take ownership over their reading, rather than having you verbally dictate when it is time each day.
Create a Cozy Corner
No one wants to read when they are uncomfortable, or when they do not like the space they are in. A great way to encourage a love of reading is to make it a desirable activity in a comfortable environment. Create a cozy area with bookshelves that are filled with a bright and interesting collection of books of varying genres and difficulty levels. Put a comfortable chair in the middle that is fluffy and inviting. Make sure there is sufficient lighting, but not so bright as to ruin the warm ambiance of the space.
Look for Someplace Quiet
Create your reading space in a part of the house that is not a central or overly loud location. It is difficult to concentrate and learn when there is too much going on around. This will frustrate your child, as they will feel like they are missing out on everything else that is going on in the room. Create a space with a minimal amount of distractions, to encourage stillness and contemplation. It’s also important to make clear that during reading time the area is an electronic device free location. Turn off or silence mobile phones, tablets, computers or other entertainment devices.
Last but not least, be there for your child as they are reading. They will need you to help them with sounding out unfamiliar words, and to encourage them when they are feeling discouraged. You will interact with your child in a mixture of reading to and with them, as well as listening to them, but staying around for all of it shows your genuine support for their newly developing reading habits.
As the CEO and President of Isabella Media, a book publishing company, I can well attest to the fact that reading is such an integral part of having a successful life. Make it a priority to encourage reading in your home by having a reading schedule that is easy and enjoyable to follow. The hours you spend teaching your child to read will come back to benefit everyone involved, especially your child.