Now that children are back in school, many families are wondering what they can do at home to support learning. Help your children read a minimum of 20 minutes a day to maintain their current reading level. More is always a great bonus!
- Model Reading. Children are always observing what you do - sometimes more than listening to what you say! So show your child that reading is part of your life and an activity you enjoy. Let them see you making time to read – indulge in a book, newspaper, or magazine (not on a tablet). Magazines with interesting, age-appropriate articles are great for children too.
- Establish a Reading Routine. As many of us know, what gets scheduled gets done. With busy family lives, setting a consistent time for the whole family to read helps make it happen. Whether it’s 20 minutes after dinner, before bedtime, or with breakfast, having a predictable routine helps ensure reading is a priority. My son and I sit in his bed nightly, each reading our own books. It’s a sweet tradition that’s part of our relationship. Often, we tell each other about what’s happening in our books. It gives us something meaningful to discuss.
- Keep Books Around your Home. Always have books available and visible. Whether it’s your own collection or a pile from the library, keep books on your child’s reading level easy to grab. Put books in special, prominent places: the coffee table, the shelves in the family room, near the dining table.
- Make Literacy Part of Your Conversation. Ask your children about what they are reading. Tell me about the characters? What’s the main story? Are you enjoying the reading and why? Discuss books, magazines, newspapers, recipes, and any reading material that engages family members. With the youngest learners (0-3 years), you can point pictures out in a board book and talk about them, be curious about what will happen to the main character – even if your child can’t answer yet. You can even have a vocabulary challenge at dinner: each person shares a word and tries to stump the others with its definition.