- Get books that play on your child's interest. Ask you child to list topics he or she wants to read about, then go to the library prepared with a general section in mind rather than aimlessly wandering the aisles in search of books. When your child has a selection of books on topics of interest, he or she will then be more interested in selecting other books that broaden his or her knowledge of the world. Make sure those books are on the child's level so he or she doesn't become discouraged with trying to read difficult words.
- Re-read books to strengthen skills. If your child is a pre-reader, you've probably seen the tendency to "Read this again." This is actually a good thing! Research ran a test about this theory. They gave one group of parents and children only a few books that they were to read repeatedly. They gave the other group a wide variety of books that they were to read only once. When researchers returned a week later, they found the children who heard the same story over and over had typically learned 3.6 of the words.Those that were exposed to a variety of stories remembered only 2.6.vv
- Ask your child to read aloud. Even if he or she has been reading for a while, reading aloud forces him or her to go slower, which gives him more time to process the words. This improves reading comprehension. You can even take turns reading aloud.
- Talk about the books. Get creative with your book discussions. Instead of asking which animal your child likes best, find out why the giraffe is his or her favorite and which characteristics of that giraffe helps him or her to survive. Also build on this book to find out books to read. If your child finds that the animal survival characteristics are interesting, get survival books the next time you go to the library. This verbal processing of the book helps him or her to remember what has been read.
- Be a reading role model. If your child sees you reading regularly, he or she will be more likely to pick up a book as well. This is a good suggestion for all other behavior - like eating well, getting enough sleep, and watching appropriate shows on TV.
- Provide incentives to finish a book. Sometimes older readers want to get done with a book so they can get on to the next one. Encourage the enjoyment of the process of reading rather than the outcome of reading as much as possible. Assign a point system for reading a certain number of pages in a long book. Work with your child to create a personalized bookmark. List book endings on a chart posted in the child's room so he or she can see progress. Find ways that will encourage your child to continue reading one book before going on to another one.
When you develop good reading habits in your child at an early age, he or she will be better prepared for the required reading that will naturally occur as he or she gets older.