“How can I help my child be a better reader?”

This is the question I’m asked all the time, and oftentimes parents don’t like what I have to say. It’s really quite simple: good readers actually read. Every day. Like anything else you want to improve upon, it takes practice.

The question parents need to ask is: “How can I help my child enjoy reading?”

Remember the days when bedtime stories were the norm? Your mom or dad tucked you in and read you a story. This is how we learned empathy. This is how we learned to love a good story. This is how we learned to love language. Many parents today are not reading to their children.

So the child who is not read to enters school and all of a sudden this child is surrounded by print, sight words, stories, and expectations. This is when parents start to wake up and realize they may need to step in and help. Again there is no magic remedy for improving reading, you just have to make it a priority.

To invigorate a sluggish reader, you need to find out what interests them. Visit the library and talk with the librarians. They are the experts at finding good books. Spend money at your school’s book fair and order books when the teacher sends home the book orders. With tweens and teens, share what you’re reading with them and explain why you enjoy the types of books you read.

Assuming you, the adult, are reading…see, that’s the other problem. There is a large population of adults who don’t read. What’s happening here?

It’s easy to blame TV and the internet or the ubiquitous “I don’t have time” whine, but honestly it goes back to priorities. If you want to be a better reader, you need to read. Period.

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