We all want to help our children succeed in school, and this includes promoting good literacy skills such as reading and writing. Although the two go hand in hand, reading is perhaps the most important skill a student can have. After all, good readers make good writers!

No matter where your child is in the process of learning 

Mom reads with small childto read or advancing his reading skills, there are things you can do at home to enhance his learning and give him the boost he needs to excel. Here are some tips to help you assist your emerging, beginning, or proficient reader develop the skills he needs in order to take reading to the next level:

Emerging Readers
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your preschooler (or even your infant!) is already beginning to develop reading skills. Hearing a book read aloud, holding a book and turning the pages, pointing to letters and word, and telling stories aloud are all ways that emerging readers begin to absorb beginning reading skills. Thus, the more access your child has to books and the more you read and share stories with one another, the better! Here are some other ideas for helping little ones develop the early skills that will get him off to the right foot with reading:
Beginning Readers
As your child does begin to read independently, don’t make the mistake of thinking your job is over. Learning to read can be a frustrating experience, so your youngster will need your assistance and encouragement now more than ever. Here are some things you can do:

  • Use flash cards to help your child practice sight words.
  • Post signs around the house with names of common household items such as “chair,” “door,” “table,” “bed,” etc.
  • Offer early reader books that use simple words and repeat certain new words.
  • Continue to read together and point to the words as you read.
  • Allow your child to read to you and praise her for a job well done!
Proficient Readers
Remember that your goal is not to simply help your child learn to read, but to encourage her to become a life-long reader who not only reads proficiently, but enjoys it as well! As your child’s reading skills advance, you’ll want to continue to provide support while also facilitating her independence. How can you do that? Try these strategies:

  • Continue to make trips to the library and bookstore to keep your child supplied with a steady stream of new titles to read. Too busy to make trips back and forth to the library? Try a book rental service like BookPig—it’s like Netflix, but for books!
  • Talk to your child about what he’s reading, and encourage him to give you a summary of the events.
  • Ask questions about the details of the story such as why a character acted a certain way or what caused an event. This will encourage reading comprehension skills like identifying character motivation and cause and effect.
Perhaps the very best way you can help your child develop good reading skills is to be her biggest cheerleader. Praise your child often and encourage her when she’s struggling. If you do get frustrated—we’re all human, after all—take a deep breath and try not to let your child see your frustration. The more confident your child becomes in his abilities, the more motivated he will be to continue trying more and more challenging texts.

How do you support your child’s reading skills? We’d love to hear your ideas!



Susan Marx · July 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

“Reading aloud during the first five years of children’s lives opens their ears to the sounds of words, their eyes to the wonder of pictures, their minds to new ideas, and their hearts to a love of books and learning.” (Marx and Kasok) What better way to support your little ones at home. Reading aloud effectively helps them acquire the early literacy concepts and skills they need to know to be successful when learning how to read in school.
Happy Reading Aloud!
Susan Marx (co-author of “Help Me Get Ready To Read” The Practical Guide For Reading Aloud To Children During Their FIrst Five Years by Susan Marx and Barbara Kasok)

    Tammy Bennecke · July 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you for your input Susan! Excellent points.

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