6 Things You're Already Doing to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

We parents often don't give ourselves enough credit.  We are teaching our kids all the time.  Even when we don't realize it.  For example, the other day I overheard my two year old tell my four year old that he was pissing her off.  I'll have to tell my husband to watch his language.  Ahem.  Anyway...

In consideration of the bajillion things we parents do, and the bajillion more on our to-do lists, let's focus on all the great things we're already doing.  Here are six ways you are teaching your child to be a great reader, maybe without even realizing it:

3 ways you're improving reading skills while reading:

1.  Self-Corrections - Even those of us who have been reading for more years than we care to admit make mistakes while reading.  We pause when it stops making sense, backtrack, and reread that sentence or section, usually without taking much notice.  When this happens while we're reading aloud to our children, they learn that reading is more than reciting words.  It's about making meaning.  They also learn that even adults make mistakes while reading, but they monitor those mistakes and go back and correct them (if meaning loss has occurred).

2.  Prosody - When they hear us read with expression and enthusiasm, our children learn that there is a story inside those books worth finding out.  We also model what fluent readers sound like.

3.  Modeling - Of course it's great if your kids see you reading a book, magazine, or novel.  But even if you don't have time (or don't want to) they see you reading a menu at a restaurant or the directions to put together a toy.  It teaches them the essentialness (is that a word?) of reading and all the different purposes for it.

3 ways you're improving reading skills when you're not even reading:

4. Background Knowledge - Any trip to the zoo, grocery store, or even backyard is teaching your child about the world around them and expanding their vocabulary, both essential for successful reading.

5.  Connections - Good readers make text to self connections, text to text connections, and text to world connections.  Anytime you make a comment like, "Hey, there's a truck like the one in your favorite book!" or "Let's get this book about bears because you really liked the last one we got about bears," you are teaching your child how to make those connections.

6.  Drawing Conclusions - Ever played a guessing game with your children?  You thought of an object and they either had to ask questions or you gave clues to help them figure out what you were thinking of?  What you were actually doing was working on their inferencing skills.

So for these reasons (and so many, many more) give yourself a big pat on the back, you're doing a great job of raising a life long reader!

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  1. Such great advice. I'm printing this off and saving it for my literacy tutors.

  2. Great tips! It's amazing to see how naturally our kids learn just with everyday life.

    We'd love for you to link up to our Finished Friday Blog Party.

  3. Love this post! These are such important tips to be aware of. When I taught 4th grade we were always working on connections to text, to self, and to the world. If kids start this at an earlier age, it will help their reading tremendously. :)

  4. Great post - it's so nice to be reminded that our kids are learning through the everyday things we do with them and helping them learn new vocabulary and making connections, thanks for a great summary.

  5. Thanks for the reminder. It's easy to put ourselves down needlessly. :o) it's nioce to be told I'm doing domething right!

  6. Thanks for these tips. I'm going to post a link on our school's fb page. I like letting parent know of ways to improve parenting skills and it's wonderful to remind them of all the things they are already doing right!

  7. Great information! Thanks for sharing at tip toe thru tuesday!

  8. this is such an amazing resource. i have never really thought about doing this! like kim said, thanks for linking up.

  9. What great information!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  10. Things we never think about. I like it when we do things right without even knowing it. :) Thanks for sharing at the Sunday Showcase!

  11. You are sharing good information to support parents. I really like your approach and your site!


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