Monday, July 23, 2012

10 (plus a few more) ways to encourage your Young Reader

 We share stories with our children when they are as young as newborns. We read to them even though they are too young to understand. But we, as parents, know instinctively that these shared moments are fundamental to a child's development. So we keep reading, from nursery rhymes to board books to fairy tales to chapter books and beyond.

Reading is important on so many levels. Reading is educational. Reading is therapeutic. Reading sweeps you away to far off places with interesting people. I love to read. But I didn't always love to read. I learned to appreciate and love reading.

Now I want to share my love of reading with my children. And I want to encourage them to see reading as a joy instead of a chore or boring school work.

Here are some ways to help encourage young children to enjoy reading!

For younger children
  • Show your child patterns in writing, such as rhyming words, word families, beginning sounds(introduction to alliteration), sounding out short words. 
  •  Introduce vowel sounds which will help the child later on when they are learning to to read (introduction to short/long vowel sounds).
  • Play with letter sounds, making different sounds for the letters and simple letter combinations (introduction to word blends).

For the Beginning Reader

  • Read aloud to your child often even if they are already reading on their own.
  • Encourage active listening during read alouds. Stop frequently to ask questions, make predictions, and talk about individual characters.
  • Ask your child to summarize the story. Thus is difficult for children, they will either tell you the whole story or will tell you things that are not quite relevant to the story (Ex: the color of someone's shirt).
  • Encourage your child to make real life connections to the story. Ex: Asking your child if something that happened in the story also happened to the child. Allow the child to explain the connection and ask questions about how they felt and what they learned. You can then circle back to the book by asking if the child thinks the character also learned and changed from that experience.
  • Introduce and practice the concepts of context clues, plot, and main idea.

For Older Readers
  • Encourage the child to make predictions, but take it a step further and ask the child to justify those predictions.
  • Encourage vocabulary building by letting the child jot down new or unfamiliar words and then looking up those words in a dictionary (don't give them the definition).
  • When they come across a new word, ask them to try to come up with another word to put in its place (synonyms).
  • Look for more complex vocabulary such as words with prefixes or suffixes which help in being able to define a word.
  • Encourage your child to explore different literary genres, by going out of their comfort zone. They might actually find something new that they like!

I'm sure there are other ways to encourage your child to love reading. This is my own little way to share with you what works for us.

How do you encourage your children to read? I'd love to hear your comments.

Happy Homeschooling Adventures!


  1. this is great advice! thank you!

  2. Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

  3. These are really good tips, thanks for sharing. Your newest follower from Moms Monday Mingle

  4. hello there! wow I may be one of your followers.. since am also an educator and homeschooling teacher.. but currently not doing it now, but I share things related to homeschooling as well..

    I encourage my kids to read by doing the same activities that you do as well.. sometimes (depending on the child's level) we do role playing using hand puppets- this is to also encourage the child to be able to recall events in the beginning, middle and end... we also create short stories on our own..

    for learning spelling words used in context, we play games such as identifying the missing letters in the words (to enhance memory recalling skills) we play build- a word, we play lost and found words etc..

    there are many things we can do to encourage our children to read and its really great if we make it more fun to them.. we enjoy and at the same time we learn.. ;-)

  5. This is such a great post! I grew up reading anything and everything. My husband doesn't share the love of reading with me. For him, if he's not learning something, it's not worth it. I want to instill the love of reading into my children! Great ideas!

    1. Hi Tracie,

      My husband is not much of a reader either, but he does try to read with the kids, so I'm happy about that.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great ideas. I really like the ones for the older children. I like the idea of them writing down the words they don't know. Thanks for sharing at Mom's Library!

    1. Hi!

      I learned to do that when I was a kid and had to learn English as a Second Language. Many times I would come across words I didn't know and by writing them down and learning the spelling and meaning, I would be able to retain it much better. This technique served me well, now I am using it on my own daughter.