Reading Tips to Help Your Child

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.


  • When you read to your child, let your child select the book. Follow the words with your finger as you read.
  • Explain words to your child and ask questions to be sure he/she understands. Have your child draw a picture and/or write a few sentences about what has been read.
  •   Be a good listener when your child tells stories, asks questions, or reads to you. This encourages your child and helps in language and reading skill development.
  •   Read to your child, or with your child, every day (for 20-40 minutes, preferably).
  •   Write down your child’s stories or have him/her write them down (if writing skills are developed). Seeing his/her own words in print helps to connect reading and writing concepts.
  •   Talk about what you are reading and allow your child to interrupt and ask questions. This helps involve him/her in the story or reading material, and also increases understanding of what is read.
  •   Be a good reading model for your child: if s/he sees you read, s/he is more likely to be interested in reading.
  •   Have a variety of reading materials available (books, magazines, newspapers).
  •   Provide your child with a desk to read or study in a quiet area, and provide a shelf on which to store books.
  •   Take your child to the library regularly (get a library card…it’s free!); browse through the books or ask the librarian for help. Attend the library story-times with young children.
  •   Go to bookstores, used-book stores, or flea markets, to look for books. Buy books for your child and/or encourage him/her to buy books.
  •   If your child is having a particular problem, teach him/her that there are many books that can be helpful and address all kinds of personal difficulties (death of a family member, divorce, ADHD, how to handle anger, etc.).
  •   Encourage your child to read all kinds of things: labels; signs; magazines; adventure books; game rules; assembly instructions; food labels; billboards; travel brochures; recipes; World Wide Web site information; etc.Show your child that whatever s/he is interested in, there are books on the subject. Read books on those interests (e.g., sports, dinosaurs, art, animals, hobbies, cooking, science, nature, etc.).
  •   Buy a dictionary for your child and encourage using it to look up words. This helps develop a good vocabulary and gives practice in alphabetization.
  •   Let him/her look up information to read in the phone book (Yellow Pages give great information on stores).
  •   Teach your child respect for books. Never let a child destroy a book. Be sure library books are returned on time and in good condition. Keep books in good repair (e.g., mend pages that are torn, etc.).
  •   Praise your child’s <strong>efforts</strong> at reading and writing. Give encouragement when he or she tries.
  •   Let reading and writing be fun; play games that include reading/writing tasks.
  •   Encourage your child to write (even a very young child can ‘write’); be sure to s/he has adequate paper, pens, pencils, a ruler, crayons, etc.
  •   Let your child help make the grocery list, look for coupons in the newspaper, and find the items in the store.
  •   Subscribe to an appropriate magazine for your child. S/he will love getting his/her own magazine each month.
  •   Read the newspaper together (the comics, an event of interest, TV program listings, a movie advertisement, local happenings, church events, or a favorite sports team article).
  •   Read a favorite recipe. Together you can buy the necessary ingredients, follow the recipe to make the dish, and then enjoy eating it!
  •   Help your child make a birthday list of family and friends. S/he can send a letter or make a card for the friend or relative. Always have your child send thank-you notes for gifts received. Holidays are also good times for notes or cards.

Read together for enjoyment and fun, as well as for learning!