Participate with the Child

Reading is an essential life skill. If one can read there is no limit to what can be learned. It opens doors that were previously closed. The gift of reading is something that a child will learn to cherish as an adult.

Parents need to be open to all kinds of reading. Children need to exposed to things they will find interesting and entertaining.

Here are some ideas. Remember each child is different and parents may need to change things up and step out of their comfort zone to include all kinds of reading opportunities. There is no such thing as a bad idea, even if it just works once.

Begin early

Reading a story as a reward and parent-child time is a great thing.  This does not  start when they are two. It begins when they are infants. Poetry is especially soothing for this age. They like to hear the way the way the voice changes and they respond to rhythms. Have sturdy books made of infants out of cloth and sturdy material.  They won’t last a life time, but there should always be books.

If a child has had an afternoon or morning story their whole life, that is their normal. Make it happen.


Notes and messages are a good way to communicate with children. Write messages with invisible ink. Reading is then about the entire experience and not just the words. It is fun to make words magically appear and find a message.

Drop a message in a pocket or a lunch box. Make certain that it is not something that will embarrass the child.  Perhaps simple words of encouragement. One preschool child always pulls out a note at school.  Typically it is a simple drawing with one or two words.  It may be a smiley face and the words “be happy”.  It could be a cat. It could be a pencil.  The child becomes accustomed to that little note from home.

Treasure hunts

Hunts are an excellent way to combine an activity and reading. Children are encouraged to read and follow the clues to find a reward at the end of the search.  This is an activity that can be repeated in a wide variety of ways and be very successful.

Make reading a precursor to other activities
A child expresses a wish for a new computer or video game.  Have the child do a little reading research on the item as part of the saving and buying experience. Learn about the person who designed the game.  Check out the reviews written on the game. Make it a whole part of the purchasing process.

Read and write letters
Include extend family, friends, teacher and neighbors in this project. Send letters, thank you notes, and cards through the mail. There is something fun about a letter in the mail.

Any reading is better than no reading. Even if they are reading the back of a cereal box or a grocery list when shopping, there is reading being done.  Keep reading for success.