How to Raise A Child Who Enjoys Reading

One question parents ask me over and over is, “how do I help my child to become a reader”. Some of these parents have school-aged children, others have children who are still toddlers. Yet, all parents know that reading is a skill their children must master to be successful in school. Based on age, there are various ways to heighten a child’s interests in reading. Keep in mind that no one can be forced to learn to read. The desire to read should be a natural process. Below are some tips to help parents guide toddlers to become readers.

Be a reader to raise a reader. The more children see reading take place in the home, the more natural a choice it will become for them. Let children observe you reading for pleasure, information, and knowledge.

To engage children in early reading, be sure they have plenty of reading materials of their own. Ask them to look at their books when they play alone. Often times, parents hear children pretend to read favorite books to younger siblings, stuffed animals or imaginary friends. This is the type of play you want to encourage. This behavior lays the foundation children need to become readers.

Read to your child from an early age. Set aside a time each day to read to your children. Bedtime offers a good opportunity to read to your children. This is a lovely way to spend quality, quiet time with your child. It serves as a way to relax as you end the day together. It also helps children to see the value of reading for relaxation.

One of my pediatrician friends tells me she recommends that parents end each day with bath, book, and bed. This practice builds routine and a sense of well-being in children.

There are reasons why your children want to hear the same story over and over. Simply put, they find joy in repetition. The world is a big and overwhelming place. Children enjoy the familiar. Book characters become part of their small world to such an extent that sometimes children will talk about these characters as if they are real. Developmentally, when children see the same books over and over, they begin to identify words in the text. Likewise, as they hear the book repeated often, they begin to notice more of the context in the book. Over time, your child may point out things in the book they had never noticed before. This is evidence that your child is not only enjoying the repetition of the book, but learning as well. This repetitive reading is part of the foundation where connections between words, reading and comprehension are born.

There are many ways a parent can help their child become a reader. The ones I have included are basic and doable by every parent. Exposure to books is a key element in a child’s love of literature and ability to read. Have plenty of reading materials in the home for your children to view and hear. Make reading part of your daily lives, and remember a child learns through repetition.

Happy Parenting!


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Three Keys to Helping Your Adolescent Earn Better Grades

It is not uncommon for students who earned passing grades in elementary
school to find themselves overwhelmed and over worked in middle school. The
level of academic responsibility increases with each year of schooling, but
the leap from elementary to middle school creates the biggest challenge.

Curriculum becomes more in-depth as the academic pace accelerates. This
combined with newfound social connections leaves many students
struggling and most parents frustrated.

Follow these three simple habits at home to help regain control of the

1.Organization is Key

As simple and unrelated as many people feel this component is, it is
critical to academic success. Beyond the obvious and overstated, have a
specific spot for homework assignments to be completed. The next step to
this process is rarely mentioned; put the homework, books, teacher notes,
notebooks etc, in the book bag at night.

Many students stumble into class each morning half awake only to find the
work they spent time on the night before is still sitting on the dinning
room table.

When this happens these assignments are considered missing, incomplete, or
late. All of which put a lower grade in the gradebook. Several days of this
repeated pattern and any GPA would certainly be reduced.

2.Be Proactive

Unlike the elementary years where teachers were available to keep parents
informed of progress, middle school educators teach 100 or more students a
day. The parent to teacher communication now falls mostly on the parent.

Be proactive. Monitor your children’s grades weekly. If you see low grades
or notice that your child struggles with understanding homework assignments,
it is wise to seek intervention immediately. Email the teacher. Ask what
steps he or she recommends to get the tutoring your child needs. Take action
and get help. The work  will only get more challenging as
the year progresses.

3.Social Activities and Academic Effort

The adolescent mind is different than that of a child. By now your children
are probably seeking more social outlets, friendships, and activities. While
parents need to encourage children to participate in extracurricular
activities, clear guidelines must be set. These guidelines should include a
base level of academic success. Participation in social events should be
allowed only when the agreed upon base for academic grades are met.

Far too many parents are unaware of the power of tying social events to
academic success. When children know their social outlets are contingent
upon their academic efforts, most are more willing to take responsibility to
earn good grades.

Start and follow through with this practice in middle school, and by their
high school years your children will know academic responsibility is
imperative to their freedoms.

Happy Parenting!


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