All parents want to give their children the tools to be successful in school, but did you know that making reading a priority is arguably the most essential academic skill? “Reading skills help students expand their vocabulary, improve their attention span, become stronger communicators and so much more,” says Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center. How can parents support their readers at home? Here are several tips:
- Suggest books and other reading material. Encourage your child to create a home library so that he or she never runs out of material to read. Librarians are a great source of information and can offer all kinds of suggestions based on children’s interests and abilities, and websites like Goodreads are another good place to get book recommendations.
- Let your child see you reading. Often, children emulate their parents. If your child never sees you reading for pleasure, your suggestions to pick up a book for fun might seem disingenuous. Read alongside your child. Make it fun, setting out a plate of treats and serving up tea or hot chocolate. Incorporate reading into your nightly family routine.
- When reading together, embrace best practices for reading comprehension. If you’re reading to your child or having them read to you, use the following process for boosting reading comprehension:
- Preview the text before reading (especially when reading a textbook).
- Pause to check in after every page for understanding and to discuss confusing parts of questions.
- Summarize main takeaways at the end of each section or chapter.
- Reflect on lingering questions and interesting information at the end of each chapter.
- Make connections to other parts of your child’s life. When talking about books, encourage your child to think beyond the words on the page. Ask questions to get him or her thinking about the main characters and their motivations, how the story relates to anything in real life and if the story or people in it seem familiar.
- Record daily reading. Your child’s teacher might require you to do this anyway. If the teacher does not, it can serve as a motivator to give children a weekly reading chart on which they can mark off days they’ve read and for how long, or even a book journal. Consider small incentives for certain goals reached (such as an ice cream outing for each book completed).
Last and most important, be sure to provide help if you notice your child struggling with reading. “Sometimes it’s obvious—your child has difficulty reading aloud or it seems that his or her reading comprehension is especially low,” says Huntington. “Other times it’s harder to tell. If you suspect your child needs is missing fundamental reading building blocks, call Huntington. We’ll assess your child’s reading skills, determine what is causing problems, and develop a customized program of instruction to help your child become a better reader.
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. 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.