Reading is the foundation for all learning and essential for school success. As children progress through school, it’s important to continue to build their reading abilities. “Reading confidence comes with continued practice,” says CEO and Co-Founder Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center. “The more children read, the better they become at it and the more they enjoy it.”
How can parents help build their children into confident, eager readers? Huntington offers these six tips:
Work on vocabulary. Nothing will frustrate a child while reading more than encountering lots of unfamiliar and difficult words. Request vocabulary lists from your child’s teacher if they don’t come home from school already and work with your child every night on reviewing those words. When reading, encourage your child to keep a dictionary nearby to look up unknown words. If your child reads on an iPad or e-reader (such as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook), the dictionary function is a great way to quickly look up words (and it’s easy to get right back to the page).
Focus on the building blocks. At a very early age, children learn phonemic awareness—that words are composed of different sounds, which form words and other sounds—and phonics—letter sounds, the relationship between letters and sounds, and decoding words. But as they move into more challenging texts, fluency and comprehension become the focus. You can help by continuing to read aloud with your children and encouraging your child to do the following while reading: think through the plot and structure of a story, pause to confirm understanding (and ask questions/search for answers) and discuss ideas.
Make daily time for reading. It’s worth repeating: practice makes improvement when it comes to reading. If your child isn’t required to read for school, still make time for it. Reading before bedtime is a good part of a daily routine. Remember to make it an enjoyable activity as well rather than a “have to” that your child feels forced to do. Make a plate of cookies, get out the blankets and read as a family.
Show children how it’s relevant. You’ve succeeded if you get your child to think of reading as a fun pastime, but it’s also important to show your child why reading is useful and important. One of the best ways to do this is to help point out connections between reading and everyday life. If your child is interested in a certain subject, go to the library or online to look for articles and books on that topic.
Encourage goal setting. Goal setting is valuable because it gives children something to work toward and can serve as a motivator. Think about fun ways you can encourage the reading habit by setting goals. Maybe you plan an ice cream outing to talk about every new book your child finishes. Maybe you read a book together and set page goals for each week, then talk about what you’ve read at the dinner table. Find ways to use the goal-setting process to inspire your child and fuel his or her interest in reaching reading milestones.
Foster those curiosities. Reading is a gateway to exploration. Whenever your child shows interest in a new topic, look together for reading material on the subject—whether that’s a book, article, magazine or blog post. When your child embraces reading, there are endless opportunities to learn and explore. Make sure to help your child open his or her mind to those possibilities.
Reading is so important for school and life. If you know your child is struggling with reading and you’re not sure how to help, call Huntington. We will uncover the root of the problem and develop a customized learning program that will help your child strengthen those reading skills, regain his or her confidence and learn to enjoy reading.
Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at www.huntingtonhelps.com. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.