Bound For Life

“Can you help me read the book by pointing to the words as I read them?” asked Paula DeJoy to her two daughters. DeJoy read “Silverlicious” by Victoria Kann to Bush Elementary School third-grader Isabella and kindergartner Siena as part of their daily, at-home reading routine to help build literacy skills.

“I think it is so important to read with your children at home because it not only reinforces what they are doing in the classroom, but also allows important family time allowing interaction in a setting without distractions,” said DeJoy.

The girls love reading time too.

“It is really fun to read,” said Isabella. “You can imagine you are in the book and become that character. I also learn lessons and new things every time I read a book. I like reading with my mom.”

Studies show that when a child consistently reads either independently or with an adult at home, their reading skills improve in the classroom too. By reading with your child, you are helping to increase their vocabulary, enhance their understanding of what they are reading and developing their imagination. Reading together and picking out books also gives you a glimpse into your child’s interests, whether that is dinosaurs, fairy tales or science fiction. You can entice your children to read more by providing books that spark their interest.

“Reading together not only builds bonding time, but also warm and positive feelings about reading that carries over into the school day,” said Lincoln Elementary School third-grade teacher Karen Sykes. “I tell parents, remember when you held your child’s hand while learning to take their first step? It is the same idea when you read with at home with your child, it is the first step in developing a good, lifelong reader.”

Parents can also model good reading behavior. Have your child “catch” you reading a good book, the newspaper or your favorite sports magazine. Talk about what you are reading and why you love it to instill positive feelings about reading. Take your child to the Prendergast Library where can get their own library card to take out free books but also many age-appropriate literacy activities including: early learning, first years and family story times, teen events, family movie nights and author book signings to name just a few. Check out their website at www.prendergastlibrary.org for more information.

With older children, connecting reading with popular culture can be beneficial. For example, having children read a book like the popular “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series before they go to the movie entices them to read and gives you the opportunity to have conversations.

“There is always more to the book than the movie and you visualize the story when you read,” said Jamestown High School 11th-grader Zac Ricker. “Going to the movie after reading the book gives you the ability to compare and contrast what you visualized with what was on the screen. I love to read science fiction when I read for pleasure and my parents read a lot to me as a child. It really helped open up my imagination.”

The number one suggestion to help your child to become a better reader is to read more. Read together everyday, provide opportunities for your child to read independently and encourage a genuine love of reading that will spill over into all areas of your child’s life.