Learning To Read: Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

  • Inspiring your child to read could be the most important thing you can do to help them succeed in school. Stories are an excellent way to stimulate the mind and expand the imagination for all of us.  Starting early with your child is the key to a life-long passion for the written word. Use the tips below and watch your child develop into a proficient reader.

    Read to your child every day with different voice tones. Sometimes you can be fun, crazy, and exciting; other times, be sincere and intriguing. Even if your child does not understand all the words, you make reading fun and exciting!  Make this a warm, loving time where your child feels safe to make mistakes. Have your child repeat after you. Start with simple phrases and words and move forward as your child progresses.  

    Tell your child that you need a certain amount of time every day to read by yourself. “This is my time,” I tell them. Making this comment to a child shows how much you enjoy reading. Research shows that 55% of communication is body language, 38% tone of voice, and only 7% content. Your child will likely model that behavior if you are reading and enjoying it. You may find your child picking up your books and pretending to read.  Throughout the day, tell your child how much you look forward to “Story Time!” Remember the percentages of communication above.

    Little by little is the key. Reading should be a fun time. If your child is interested, put the book away for a while. Negative feelings will emerge if positive emotions do not surround reading time. It is challenging to re-establish the fun in reading when apprehension surfaces.  Ask your child what it would be like to write a book like the ones they love. Mention to her how it’s interesting how we read from left to right and how spaces, commas, and paragraphs separate the text.  Talk about written words you see in your community: road signs, advertisements, bumper stickers, and grocery stores. Challenge your child to find at least two new words on each outing. Then celebrate their discoveries with positive body language, exciting tones of voice, and positive words of encouragement.

    Follow the above tips and watch your child develop a strong vocabulary and passion for the written word. The importance of reading with your children cannot be over-emphasized. Reading is a beautiful way to bond with your children and provides memories they will carry with them all their lives. Proficiency in reading more than any other skill increases their potential for success in school and as an adult.  In short, reading with your child is a gift for a lifetime.