Your child may already be under pressure to learn to read at school. Reading at home should be beautiful, fun, curiosity-quenching and inspiring. Check in with the teacher. Late readers often grow up to be better, more enthusiastic readers. Your child may be under more stress about learning to read than you realize.
As your child begins to read independently, your role expands. Keep reading with your child, but also supply a steady stream of books that are appealing, and lots of positive vibes and good conversation about reading and books in general. Your child may want to read what friends are enthusiastic about. Tip: Ask other parents what their children are reading, and offer to swap books. Make reading associated with maturity.
Reading is a grown-up pastime, and can be done independently. We love Harry Potter, but also feel there is no reason to read Harry Potter out loud to your child.
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In other words, Harry Potter is the dessert, not the vegetables. There are a lot of great books for kindergartners, but even the first Harry Potter book is not one of them. There are some dark themes in the later books; the author, J. Rowling, wrote those understanding that her readers would grow into the later books as they worked their way through the series.
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For some early readers, a big block of text is like a giant, daunting stop sign. Resist applying that label and instead find books your early reader loves. The stories and characters can be rich and well developed, and children still learn reading skills with these more visually driven books.
Graphic novels for young readers, meanwhile, have been steadily improving in literary quality, often winning prestigious awards and appearing on best-of-the-year book lists. Make room for comics and manga. Many children become avid readers through their love of comics. A book about a computer game is still a book. Plenty of reluctant readers are fans of popular computer and video games. Many of these games have book counterparts, which can be a great way to steer your child toward the pleasures of text.
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Zombies, and the like. Some reluctant readers are fact-gatherers, who may be more inspired by reading nonfiction. Never treat books as a chore. Nobody earns candy for eating cookies. Astrid decides to join a summer roller derby camp, but can she stay close to her best friend even though they are growing apart? Raina experiences braces, boy troubles and other plagues of the sixth grade. Read the review. These precious years when your child is living at home, observing your approach to life, are a great time to nurture your own reading habits. If your child must keep one, consider the fine irony in bugging your student to crack a book every night, if you rarely do it yourself.
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Make reading a group activity. Just as younger children parallel play, older children parallel read. Try it: Instead of organizing family leisure time around TV, movies or video games, schedule a regular family reading time. Avoid giving your child an e-reader. Studies have shown that people, especially children, absorb and retain stories better when they read them in print. So there is a good pedagogic reason to urge your children to stick to paper. At night, screen time is known to interfere with melatonin cycles, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Books belong everywhere. Even a devoted anticlutter person should make an exception for books. Create impromptu reading opportunities for your child by leaving books in places where they may be picked up in an idle moment. Discovered on a coffee table, a great photography book or a book about lizards may occupy children for long stretches.
Join — or start — a parent-child any combination book club. Being in a book club together increases the opportunities for you to start conversations about books, which may lead to deeper conversations about other subjects. Books to movies. A movie adaptation of a novel your child loves is a great way to re-engage with the book, opening a conversation about how a story can be told in different ways.
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Encourage your child to read the book before the movie adaptation hits the screen. Consider establishing a family rule: No one watches the film until everyone has read the book. Let your child build a personal collection. Children love collecting. Every child should have a special bookcase. Plan for long-term storage for the best of this collection.
When your children reach adulthood and discover that you still have the books that meant so much to them in childhood, they and you!
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Books are for giving. Not every book your child owns is bound for the permanent collection. Keep a regular conversation going about which books your child is ready to hand down to younger siblings, cousins or friends. Consider a birthday-party book swap. When your child is at the picture-book stage, ask guests to bring a wrapped book instead of gifts, and have everyone choose one on the way out.
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With older children, have guests bring an unwrapped book, and have them choose from the pile. Determine the order by pulling numbers from a hat, or through a contest or game. Make regular trips to the library even better as a family to keep a constant stream of new and intriguing books around the house. Many local libraries no longer have limits on the number of books you can take out at one time.
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They can be safely chewed on or thrown across the room. They are equally visual and verbal; pictures tell the story as much as the words do. Research shows that visual reading is an important precursor to verbal reading, and babies need to develop this skill. Decoding pictures and decoding words are part of the same process. Becoming a reader starts as soon as your baby pays attention to board books. Everything is new to a baby.
The pages of a simple board book may be boring to you, but pay attention to what delights your baby in a book, and find more like it. A feast for the eyes.
Board books should have big, bright images and comparatively few words. For very small babies, easy-to-see, simple black-and-white pages with big patterns are a great way to start. As your baby gets older, find board books with bold color combinations and high-impact graphic design. All hands on board. Lift the flap. Feel the textures. Pull the tabs. Babies love to manipulate these features. As soon as they can use their hands, lift-the-flap books are a wonderful way to make reading a tactile activity as well as introduce the element of surprise into story time.
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