Getting kids to read isn’t always easy. Here’s how you can get your kids to love reading.
Learning to read starts with a love of books. To foster a lifetime love of reading, tell each other stories, and read plenty of books with a wide variety of story-lines and illustration styles to capture the interest of every child. Make sure they discover early on all of the wonderful things that can be found in books – from thrilling stories to fascinating facts. It is never too early or too late to start. As little as 20 minutes a day can inspire kids to read more.
Learning to read initially requires the basic pattern recognition skills needed to recognize letters, letter sounds, words and punctuation. While puzzles encourage problem-solving, they also offer valuable practice with identifying visual cues and recognizing patterns. Putting patterns together or recognizing a pattern is the foundation of learning to read, since words simply letter patterns and letters are simply shapes with distinct features.
Once children can recognize letters, learning the sounds of letters – phonics – is important in helping them to sound out new words, and increase their reading vocabulary. Learning to read also requires the comprehension skills needed to understand vocabulary, meanings of sentences, paragraphs and storylines, and to remember sequences and conclusions. Creating a fluent, independent reader requires practice and modeling. Reading aloud to them often, even after they have begun to read on their own, is a good example of modeling.
Games and activities that expand language and “mental” imagery skills lead to strong literacy and communication skills, and will also help increase enjoyment of reading and books. Books are the gateway to imaginative thinking and creativity, which can lead to further imaginative play and opportunities for “mental” imagery – a wonderful cycle of creative skill enhancement.