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Making Reading Fun

by Angela Lewis

There are millions of children in America who cannot read well enough to excel in school. The success of a child's reading career starts in the home. Making reading fun for children is a key component in their reading success. Parents are encouraged to start early in their child's life to promote the love of reading. There are many ways parents can promote reading strategies and activities.

Birth to Preschool

  1. Label, label, label- Make words available in your house to your child. Take a 3x5 index card and print a word on the card that corresponds with a household item. For example: Label one card with the word refrigerator and tape the card to the refrigerator. This allows the child to recognize the word and associate it with the object.
  2. Sand Paper Letters- Many young children are tactile learners. If a child can feel something, he may have a better understanding of what it is as opposed to just hearing the word. Trace a letter of the alphabet on to a piece of sandpaper and cut out the letter. Make sure the letter is like a bubble letter . Have your child trace the letter with his pointer finger. As he traces the letter, make sure he says the letter each time he traces it. This allows the child to transfer letter recognition to the brain through sound.
  3. Monkey-See-Monkey Do- Be a good role model at home. Your children respect you and want to be like you. If they see you reading, they will tend to model that. The more often they see you reading, the more often your children have the reading process on their minds.
  4. Shaving Cream Fun!- This has the same effect as the sandpaper letters. Put a dollop of shaving cream on a tray, jelly pan, or any time of tray with a flat surface. Have your child make letters in the shaving cream. Show him letters on flash cards and have him draw the letter. This is a great way to start teaching the first letter of his name.
  5. Home Library- If you haven't already, start a home library. Pick a special place in your home to create your library, maybe on a shelf in your children's room or maybe in a reading nook. Make sure all of the titles of the books are visible to your children. Teach them how to respect books and how to put the books back on the shelf properly.
  6. Sight Words- Sight words are words that can be easily recognized for a beginning reader. For example: mom, dad, the, and the child's name are all sight words. Even though the child may not be able to read yet, he should have a working list of recognizable words, or sight words. Create a list of sight words for each child. When the child reads that particular word, he will feel a sense of accomplishment and will want to read more.
Pre-kindergarten through beginning reader
  1. I think, I can, I think I can- Repetition throughout a book is a wonderful way to keep your child's attention. The more often you read something to him, the quicker he can memorize it. Once the child had memorized the book, he can read the book to you. This is the first step in successful reading. You could start with the book Brown Bear, Brown, Bear by Bill Martin Jr. This is a repetitive book written so that children can memorize and then read page after page.
  2. Magazine Subscription- Buy a magazine subscription for your child. There are many subscriptions that would entice any kid. National Geographic Kids is wonderfully written and has beautiful pictures to accompany the articles. Other favorites are Sports Illustrated Kids, Spider, Ranger Rick, Nickelodeon, and Cricket. Having ownership in reading material that arrives via mail gives the children a sense of ownership and responsibility.
  3. Write to Read- The more a child writes the better he will be able to learn to read. Anytime a child gets a hold of a pencil and puts it to paper to begin the writing process, the better a chance he has at the success of reading.
  4. A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words- Take a photo or a unique picture from a magazine and paste it on a piece of paper. Have your child write a captivating story about what he thinks is happening in the picture. The story might be incredibly funny or maybe even surprising!
  5. Word Wall- Use words that your child has learned recently and write them on 3x5 cards. Tape the cards to a designated space on a wall, a cabinet, or a refrigerator. Wherever you choose, make sure the words are at your child's height and he can see them. This technique gives your child the opportunity to see the words more often and can better commit them to memory.
Middle Years
  1. Read to Your Child- Yes, even during the middle school years, it is appropriate to read to your child. Believe it or not, studies show that children at this age love to be read to. Choosing a story from a Chicken Soup book or a great article from the newspaper are great ways to get started.
  2. Prereading Strategies- Before your child begins a book have a discussion with him about several items about the book. You could begin with the cover. Have him tell you what he thinks the book might be about based on the cover of the book. Next, move to the author. What information can he find out about the author? Try looking in the back of the book or try a Google search on the author's name. Doing this prereading might give your child a better insight to the book and he may be more excited to read it.
  3. Books on Tape- Most libraries have numerous books on tape. If you are getting ready to take a road trip, check out a book on tape. Make sure that when your child listens to it that he is also following along with the printed words in the book so that he can associate the words with the voice on the tape.
  4. Read in Fun Places- Give your child a variety of reading places. Make it fun! Maybe he could read under the tree on a nice day or read on the front porch. Create a reading nook somewhere in your house or allow him to read sitting on the trampoline. Giving your child a variety of reading places breaks up the monotony of reading at a desk.
Reading is a lifelong tool that needs to be introduced at an early age. Starting this process at home is the first place to start. Doing this will set your child up for success and will instill the love of reading in their minds.

About the Author:
Angela is an 8th grade reading/English teacher. She has a bachelors degree in education and a masters degree in earlychildhood. Angela and her husband have 4 beautiful children.

If you have any educational articles, homeschooling techniques, activities for elementary aged children, parenting resources, hobbies/crafts, money-saving ideas, or family time activities, please submit them and we will be posting them soon! We would love to hear from you!

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