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  Help Your Child Become a Better Reader
Reading begins at an early age, and continues throughout their lives. As a parent there are various ways you can help your child become as better reader from early childhood to later years. The following are some ways to help your child depending on their age group.

  • Early in their life let them have books to look at even if they are, as an example, turning them upside down and don't understand their purpose. This gives them contact with books and sometimes a book can feel like a toy to them when they are very young (before they are talking in sentences). It can encourage the child to want a "hands on" experience with books.

  • Read to your child. Point out the pictures as you read to them. Talk about the pictures, and sometimes just turn the pages and pretend to read what the story is about (talking about the story) if the writing on the page is long for very young children. Be sure to make your voice sound enthusiastic and excited about the book.

  • Enrich their vocabulary in everyday living experiences. Oral vocabulary is a prerequisite to understanding written words. Be sure to have conversations with your child. This can be done by pointing out products in stores, names of flowers, animals, buildings, and signs. While driving with them, talk about objects and events in their surroundings. If it's a long trip show them on a map and help them understand how to use a map. Discuss household items and events on television (choosing their TV watching selectively).

  • Provide your child with many learning experiences such as going to parks, visiting a zoo, a local museum, and places of interest that would enhance and enrich vocabulary. This will give them first hand experience for words and understanding of them.

  • As your child develops to where they can read independently, read with your child taking turns reading to each other. This also can help to read longer books which have the advantage of plots becoming more complex and interesting. It can cause them to be curious of what is going to happen next and be excited to sit with you on the following reading session.

  • Be sure to let your child see you reading. If time allows, set aside a time each night for family reading and sharing of what you have read with each other.

  • Notice what they want to watch on television and select books on that subject.

  • Make fun ways to learn new words using games such as Boggle and Scrabble.

  • Buy gift certificates and books for gifts.

  • If you have a question about your child's reading ability you might want to see our section on "Selecting a Book".

We hope you enjoyed reading these ideas, and may they be of help to you as your child progresses through the various reading stages in his life. Parents who share are a very important source to successful reading for their child.

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