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Five Easy Ways to Help Improve Your Child's Reading

This blog post is exclusively an article by Rebekah Kogelschatz. The source URL is included at the end of the article. An excellent article I could not have written better myself!


"Reading is the foundation of all learning." — Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling

As a former teacher of children with learning difficulties, reading is always the priority of teaching. Without reading, a child will struggle in all subject areas. Children that learn to love the entertainment value of books will be more encouraged to read. For children that have began to read, but are struggling, there are some things parents can do to help.

1. Read aloud to your child. Children learn to read by hearing someone read. They learn how reading should sound, how fast you should read, and how to put sentences in order. They can also listen to a book that is above their reading level. Most children can understand a story read to them at a greater level than they can read themselves. By reading to your child, she will learn to love books for the entertainment they can provide. A struggling reader tends to hate books because of the frustration she has experienced. Give your child the opportunity to love hearing oral stories! And if you think you cannot read aloud, just remember that to a child, you sound WONDERFUL!

2. Have you child read to you. Teacher's frequently assign 10-15 minutes of reading "homework" to students. As a parent, homework is considered to be an individual activity. In most cases, reading for 10-15 minutes can be done with the parent. Have the child read a book or story to you that is at or below his reading level. This can even be simple books that belong to younger siblings. Do not worry if he always wants to read "easy" books. Eventually, the child will get bored of easy books and want something more at his level. (Of course, follow any teacher guidelines or assign reading.)

3. Read with your child. You may say, but we already covered that... but we have not. Reading with your child can be in two different forms: actually read the same passage at the same time or alternate who reads. As in reading aloud, a child will learn how to read and what reading is suppose to sound like by keeping up with you. Do not speed through the story, but do not go slow either. The child will follow along and keep pace, even if they are not reading every word.

4. Visualize the story. Especially in chapter books, there are not many pictures to give a child an idea of what is going on. Even though adults see pictures in their head, a child may have to be taught to do this. Visualizing increases comprehension. Ask questions about the characters, the setting, the plot. Ask the child to describe what they are seeing. You may be surprised how different it is from what you are seeing. With picture books, close the book and ask the child to explain what they saw in the pictures.

5. Predict what will happen next. Before you start the book, look over the cover and ask what is this book going to be about. Do not rush through the story- stop and ask what she thinks is coming up. After you have read the story, remind the child of the prediction and see if they were right. If they were not right, ask what did happen. Predicting helps a child to form a picture of what may come. When the read or hear the story, they can fill in the blanks in their head. This also helps with visualization.

The most important aspect of improving your child's reading in being involved EVERY DAY with reading. Make reading enjoyable for your child and your child will learn to love reading.

Rebekah Kogelschatz is a former school teacher of students with disabilities. She has taught all grades from pre-school to 8th grade in all subject areas. Rebekah Kogelschatz is a stay at home with her two children in rural Florida.

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