*Stay Up Later!: Institute a 15 minute late night reading routine at your home. Allow your children to stay up 15 minutes later if they read! Children can read independently or to a parent or sibling. Some children may be also be motivated to read more if they are allowed to read under their covers with a flashlight.
*Word Wizard: Encourage your children to become aware of vocabulary words around them. Have each family member be the Word Wizard one day a week. That person chooses an interesting word to share with the family at breakfast or dinner. Put the word on the refrigerator and have each family member listen and look for the word. Everyone reports back the next day how many times they encountered the word. If a family of four does this 4 times a week, the children in the family will be learning over 200 new/interesting words a year!!
*Recommend a Favorite Book: Did you like to read books when you were young? Do you have a book or two that were your favorites to read? Why not recommend them to your child? You never know..they may actually like it too! As a teacher of 4th and 5th graders, I can honestly tell you that they still like picture books too. If one of your favorite books as a child was a picture book, why not read it together as a family?
*Gift Certificate: As the holidays are approaching, why not give your child the gift of reading? Children are more willing to read when they have a choice of what to read. Help your child choose a great book or other material to help instill a love of reading!
*The Reading/Writing Connection:Children can improve their writing by "reading like a writer". When your child reads,encourage him or her to take note of what the author of the text does to make his/her writing interesting, entertaining or informative. They can then use this observation to help them write at home and at school.
*Word Choice:Have your child keep an ongoing list at home of interesting words, phrases and sentences from the books that he/she is reading in a "special notebook"! These can then be used to spice up their own writing. Encourage your child to write creative stories at home. Sometimes if a child likes to write, the enthusiasm will carry over to reading as there is a strong correlation between reading and writing.
*Get Your Brain Working! Audio books are a great way to help increase your child's reading skills. When a child listens to a book on a CD or on an MP3 player, he/she is actually doing two things at one time. He/she is listening to someone read the text fluently while looking at the text at the same time! Both eyes and ears are getting a workout! Some children are auditory learners so listening to someone read a book makes reading seem easier.
*Prepare for Summer! Now is a great time to begin talking to your child about the importance of reading during the summer. This is so important! On average, a child who does not read during the summer months can lose between 3-6 months of academic learning. Thus, they will begin the next school year at a disadvantage. If a child reads 15 minutes a day five days a week, he/she should be able to maintain his/her level of learning to begin the next school year right where they should be!
*Something to Talk About: Reading doesn't have to stop when you put the book down. Talk to your child about books you've read, books he/she has read and books you think he/she might enjoy.
*Read It Again and Again: Children of all ages like picture books (really....they do!). Does your child have a favorite picture book or story? Go ahead and read it again or retell it in your own words. This is a great way to spend quality time with your child.
*Exposure: There are many different types of text. It is important to not only know what your child likes to read, but also expose him/her to a wide variety of text. Graphic novels are becoming very popular. There are also many magazines created for children that are both educational and fun. Poetry is a lot of fun to read. Ask your child what he/she likes to read. You may be surprised:)
*Get Them to Read Another One: Find ways for your child to pick up another book. Introduce him/her to a series like Junie B Jones, The Boxcar Children, Cam Jansen, Encyclopedia Brown, Magic Tree House, Harry Potter, etc. Or he/she may have a favorite author like Judy Bloom or Gary Paulsen. If your child finds a book he/she likes, he/she may like other books by the same author.
*Make Books Special: Turn reading into something special. Take your child to the library, help them get their own library card, take time to read with them, and maybe buy them books as gifts. Have a favorite place in your home for books and read to your child or have them read to you!
*I Want That One! Reading should be a choice, not a chore. Make sure your child has access to a wide variety of text including magazines, comics, chapter books and picture books. Picture books are great for all ages! Ask your child what he/she likes to read and help him/her get these materials.
*Take Turns Reading: To add a fun twist to reading every day, take turns reading with your child. Have your child read aloud and then have him/her listen as you read. Reading in different voices will add to the excitement of the story and will keep your child interested in the story.
*Teach Your Child Some Tricks: Show your child how to summarize a story in just a few short sentences or how to make predictions about what might happen next. Both of these strategies will help increase comprehension.
*READ, COVER, REMEMBER, RETELL! When your child reads at home, have him/her read as much text as they can cover with their hand. Have your child read the text aloud or silently and then cover up the text with his/her hand. Next, have your child take a moment and think about what they just read. If he/she cannot remember, have him/her look back and skim the text. Finally, have your child retell the text back to you. This strategy will help increase your child's comprehension.
*Games to Help with Word Identification Skills:
*Boggle and Boggle Junior *I Spy Word Scramble *Upwords *Scrabble and Scrabble Junior
*Smart Mouth *Banana-grams *Quiddler *Spill and Spell *What's Gnu?