Reading is a skill that many of us take for granted. It's easy to forget how important it is to cultivate a "reading lifestyle" at home that supports classroom learning and fosters academic achievement. Statistics show that parents who provide reading materials in the home--books, newspapers, magazines--and who read daily to their children can greatly enhance their children's reading skills and overall academic success. Here are a few simple tips to make sure reading becomes a healthy habit in your home:
- Read with your child daily. Just 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose children to more than a million words of text in a year. All of those words add up to greater reading comprehension, improved fluency and a stronger vocabulary.
- Become “regulars” at your local library. For kids today, visiting the local library is something of a novelty. You might be surprised by just how much fun they can have browsing the shelves for books, perusing the kids' magazines and wielding their own library cards.
- Turn off the TV, computer, gaming device, etc. There's nothing wrong with screentime in moderation, but most kids get too much of the aforementioned electronic media. Consider setting aside one day a week when you "unplug" and encourage your kids to play a board game, work on a craft project or read.
- Engage in activities and experiences that require reading. This recommendation comes direct from Fairmont's Director of Education Sandy Cosgrove. When she cooks with her first grade granddaughter, she encourages her to read the recipe. If questions come up in discussions with her grandchildren, she employs the classic teacher answer, "Look it up!"
- Model it! Here's another tip from Sandy. Parents, don't forget that you are your child's first and constant teacher. When you read the morning paper, pick up a magazine or join a book club, you are modeling behavior that says reading is a fun, informative and vital part of your life.
Photo from Microsoft Office photo gallery
Contributed by Danyelle and Sandy, Fairmont Private Schools