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Raising a Reader: Simple Ways to Help Your Child Become a Reader

Mother reading a picture book to her preschool child, helping her develop strong reading habits

What if we told you that by reading to your child, you could help give your little one a head start in life? And that your child will be more successful in school?

Why is Reading Important?

It sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t! Studies have shown “that the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school” (PBS.org). Not to mention the added benefit that reading to your child is the best way to instill a love of reading and build their relationship with you.

Benefits of Reading to Your Child

Research tells us that literacy skills are developed well before your child enters elementary school. Literacy skills begin developing as soon as your infant is born. From birth, babies and children are learning skills they’ll use in reading. Reading aloud to your infant, toddler, and preschooler provides significant benefits. The benefits include:

  • Boosted parent and child bonds
  • Extensive vocabulary skills
  • Improved language skills
  • Enhanced cognitive development
  • Higher empathy skills
  • Enriched concentrations skills
  • Boosted imagination and creativity
  • Increased social skills
  • Better academic performance

Mother and father helping their preschool son learn to read

Turn Your Child Into a Reader With These 8 Steps

We asked the teachers at New Horizon Academy to share a few simple ways to help children become strong readers. Here are a few of their favorite ideas:

1. Schedule Daily Reading Time

Just as you schedule other family activities like dinner, gymnastics, bath night, etc., schedule reading time as part of your daily routine.

2. Involve Your Child in Reading

Read with your child in your lap and let them assist you in holding the book or turning the pages. Read the title of the book, the name of the author, and the name of the illustrator. Discuss the parts of the book (cover, front, back, spine of the book, etc.). Use expressions while reading the story, too.

3. Read Environmental Print

Environmental print is the print of everyday life. It’s the print that appears in signs, labels, and logos. It appears in street signs, cereal boxes, labels on a granola bar, and the H in Hy-Vee. For many emergent readers, environmental print helps bridge the connection between letters and first efforts to read. Point out the printed words in your home and other places you take your child such as the grocery store.

4. Be a Reading Role Model

Let your child see you read. This sends a message to your child that reading is important.

5. Set Up a Reading Area

Create a quiet, special place in your home for your child to read, write, and draw. Keep books and other reading materials where your child can easily reach them.

6. Get Library Cards for Your Child

Visit your local library and let your child choose books to check out. Bonus: Many libraries also offer wonderful children’s programming. From magic shows to story times, there are fun activities for children of all ages.

7. Implement Fun Activities After Reading Together

Extend the learning by engaging in fun activities after reading the story with your child.

  • Draw pictures about the story.
  • Make puppets and reenact the story or create your own!
  • Retell the story.
  • Create your own book.

8. Use New Horizon Academy’s ‘I Love to Read’ Calendar to Promote Reading Activities Into Your Daily Schedule

The New Horizon Academy ‘I Love to Read’ calendar is full of simple things you can do with your child to support reading. From going on a nature walk, to making a fort and reading together with a flashlight, there are tons of simple ways to squeeze reading into your daily routine.

2024 I Love to Read Month Calendar

Download Calendar

Reading is at the heart of learning. By reading with and talking with your child, you are ensuring that your child has a solid foundation for all future learning. So read often and with enthusiasm, and you will help your child develop critical reading skills.

New Horizon Academy is a nationally recognized early learning provider with over 90+ schools in Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, and Kansas. Through a play-based curriculum and high-quality daycare, New Horizon Academy schools nurture and prepare children to succeed in school and life.

Schedule a tour to learn more about our highly trained teachers, safe and secure facilities, and commitment to providing the highest quality care. Contact a New Horizon Academy childcare center near you today!

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