Students becoming fluent readers is a major focus of public education. One way to support children reading at home is to create a reading-friendly environment. There are a few simple ways you can do this.
First step, cover up electronics. If you do not have an entertainment cabinet to hide away your technology, try using a large scarf or piece of fabric draped over items. If possible, do not make television the center of your family room. You can always move chairs or couches to face the television during the appropriate time. Some families set time limits for television so that time spent watching it does not interfere with other aspects of home and learning.
Next step, keep age appropriate books accessible. A short bookshelf in the living room or a basket of books on a table make them a go-to for entertainment. Have a stack of books or a bookshelf in the bedroom near the bed or cozy area. Whether it is nap-time or bedtime, there will be books there to look at or read together.
That brings us to the next suggestion. Read before bed. It is the easiest time to slow down, sit with the child, and read for as long as the child stays focused. The focus time will increase as the child gets older. The Department of Education suggests working up to reading for 30 minutes a day with your child. This is a great time to incorporate books that are above the child’s reading level. Children can hear new words and learn the proper ways to pronounce them. Another tip, is to put your finger under each word as you read it. This helps the child follow along and visually identify the words.
Take trips to the library. Going to the library does not only have to be for children books. Show children that you like to read also, find books that are interesting for you and model reading for enjoyment at home. Let children pick out a few books some from their reading level and some a bit advanced that you can help read. Keep these library books in a special location at home so that they do not get lost in your home library.
Other ways to make reading fun at home are to use audio books, create family story books, create and label items in collages made from magazine pictures, label items in the house, read things like cereal boxes. If your home uses technology, there are games and applications for phones, computers, and tablets that can help children with reading. The key is to setting time limits to technology use and diversifying the ways children learn to read.
Discuss what your child is learning from reading and this will help with comprehension skills. Family meal times, driving, and directly after reading are just some of the moments you can use to catch up with your child’s growing comprehension of the world around them.
These are just a few suggestions for making your home more reading-friendly for young children. What does your family do at home to encourage reading?