8 Early Reading Tips for Kids

You have been there every step of the way when it comes to your child’s development. From learning to walk to potty training, the one constant has been the encouragement that a child receives from their parent. A big step academically is learning to read, and while childhood education in school setting is importing, having a supportive parent can give them that extra push they need. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis said it best, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” In this article we’ve provided some tips to help nurture your child’s appreciation of books and a love of reading.

1. Set up an area of the bookshelf just for their books

Children love having their own version of something “grown up”. A bookshelf located in your child’s room with their own books is likely to get them more excited about reading. Not only will they be able to reach books anytime they like without having to ask, it will demonstrate that your family values books and reading.

2. Let your children pick out their own books

When you do go book shopping, take your children with you and have them spend some time in the children’s area. Children want to “do it themselves” and letting them choose their own books gives them a sense of independence and can ignite some passion about reading.

3. Have daily read-aloud sessions

Schedule regular times to have your child read aloud to you so that you can pin point words they might be having trouble with. If there are certain sounds they need help with, try breaking it down for them on flashcards.

4. Make sure to point out words when reading them aloud

Another way to show them how certain sounds are pronounced is to take turns reading. Perhaps you read one sentence and then have them read the same sentence after you. When it is your turn to read, have them sit next to you and follow along. As you read a passage make sure to point at the words as you are reading them – sort of like karaoke. This will help your child associate how words should be spoken with how they are written.

5. Make reading fun

Come up with ways to make reading interactive and entertaining. Take turns reading a bedtime story and when it is your turn to read, exaggerate the words and even add in hand gestures. You can even assign different voices to different characters within the stories. Listening to you bring the characters to life will help your child visualize the story and engage their imagination!

6. Set goals and reward reading

Set goals for reading such as one book a week. If these goals are met, reward this prowess with more reading options. Once a book is finished, pop into a bookstore and let them choose another one. These incentives are sure to keep them interested.

7. Let your child see you reading

Children view you as their most important role models and they pay close attention to what you do. If your child sees you reading books, newspapers and magazines they will understand that literature is part of our everyday lives – a source of education as well as a relaxing pastime.

8. On the go reading

In this day and age it is extremely common for children to use iPads or other devices for amusement on long road trips, or even short drives to school. To help limit their time on such devices, keep a set of their favorite books in the car. Interactive books that incorporate sound, touch or require some type of participation can be especially entertaining.
The American Academy of Pediatrics performed a study, which proved that reading to children helped with brain development. Children as young as 6 months old start interacting with books, and by 15 months they are usually able to point out pictures that they are attracted to. The relationship between a parent and their child can be assessed by simply observing how comfortable a child is reading with their mother or father. When a parent is able to get their child excited about reading they have most certainly helped put them on a path for better brain development. Ralph Emerson phrased the way reading affects a person’s intellect perfectly by saying “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”

8 After School Conversation Starters to Engage Your Child

Talking to a kindergartener can be challenging, especially when you’re looking for specifics on what they’re experiencing outside the home. Usual questions like “How was your day?” or “How are you?” will generally render rather uninformative responses like “okay” or “good”. By asking specific questions about their day, you can engage your child in more productive conversation that can give you a better understanding of their experiences at school while strengthening your relationship. Here are a few simple questions you might want to try incorporating into your daily after school discussions to get the ball rolling!

conversation starters for toddlers

Who did you sit next to during lunch?

Lunchtime is a regular opportunity for children to interact with others their age. If they have a group of friends that they like to sit next to, or even one specific person that they talk about frequently, this can be a good sign that they are settling into their school environment.

What’s your favorite thing to do at school?

Finding out what they enjoy most will help you figure out what activities you can partake in at home. It can also help you identify the areas they don’t enjoy as much and determine whether they can use help in those areas whether it be reading, math or their social skills.

What did your teacher say to you today?

This is a good way to find out if your child is having problems at school with either learning or behavior. Discussing these interactions with your child can make it easier for you to approach the teacher and work with them to make your child’s experience at school productive and enjoyable.

Did you do something nice for someone? Did anyone do something nice for you?

This topic can demonstrate the kind of relationships your child is building at school and gives you the opportunity to provide praise for their actions and reinforce positive attitudes about kindness and appreciation.

Can you tell me about something you learned today?

This question can be a good indicator as to how focused and attentive your child is at school. Children also love to demonstrate new skills or acquired knowledge and this gives them a chance to share this and receive recognition for their progress.

Did you play any games today?

Playing games allows kids to improve social skills, teaching them about sharing, negotiation, following rules, as well as developing critical thinking skills and using imagination. Asking them about the rules of the game and how they played it opens up a window for conversation on their understanding and development in these areas.

Did anything make you laugh today?

Knowing that your child had a good time at school and spent some time laughing can be reassuring and help ease a parent’s anxiety about their child fitting in.

Who did you play with today?

This question helps you get an idea of who their friends are and whether they are enjoying their playtime at school. By finding out which children they play with, you can get in touch with their parents to arrange play dates on the weekends. Interaction between children outside of school can help them form stronger ties and helps with the transition between home life and school life.

How to continue the conversation

Once you have been able to break the ice with easy questions, you can then keep the conversation going by asking more in depth questions such as, “you talk a lot about Lucy, is she your best friend?” or “Would you like Lucy to come over sometime and play at our house?”. Whether public or private, school should not only be about learning, but also about the interaction between students and about having a little bit of fun. Model communication by telling your child about your own day, talking to them about similar topics that reflect the information you’d like them to share. By nourishing your connection in this way, you can help them feel more comfortable opening up in future if they have any worries or anxieties about school or other situations you may need to know about.