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Raising a Reader.

29 June 2012
From Reader’s Digest:
How To Raise Kids Who are Good Readers
1. Good readers start out ahead. Reading scores in first grade are a key indicator of school success in 11th grade. Meaning that what happens in the very early years has a lasting effect on learning. So try these tips with young children:
  • The more you read, talk and sing to babies, the greater their foundation for vocabulary and understanding. The youngest ones are amazingly receptive to language.
  • Toddlers will sit still to interact with books if you pique their interest with questions like “Who’s that?” and “What else do you see?”
  • Preschool is the time for children to begin to learn the alphabet, and to become aware of the sounds that make up words — a crucial skill for reading known as phonemic awareness. They don’t call it that, but Victoria and her mom practice phonemic awareness whenever they’re reading her favorite rhyming books. They clap out the syllables in names (“Vic-tor-i-a”) or play word games, such as “I’m thinking of a word that starts with the letter E.”
  • Young school-age kids need lots of practice reading to and with their parents. Try echo reading to build fluency: You read a passage and then let your child read one. Call your child’s attention to punctuation and interesting words as
    you read.

2. Good readers have better vocabularies. Think about the conversations you’ve had with your child today. There’s a good chance that — because of the hectic lives parents lead — most of the words you used were simple, immediate and directive. For example, “It’s time to go now!” Especially on our busiest days, it’s easy for parents to forget that kids look to us for varied and rich conversations. One study showed that when teachers used more complex speech, very young children learned to create more complex sentences themselves. From third grade on, kids need to learn about 3,000 new words a year — that’s eight new words a day. And it takes at least four exposures to make a word their own. To enrich your child’s word power, try these ideas:

  • Tell stories about the past, present and future. At dinnertime, relate a story about your childhood or ask about an upcoming school event.
  • Encourage play. According to child development expert Sue Bredekamp, it’s a crucial way for children to hone their language skills and give voice to their ideas.
  • Read a variety of books — picture books, stories with rhymes, science or history books that convey cool new information. And engage your child in extended conversations about what you read together.
To read the entire article:

Books in General

16 Comments to “Raising a Reader.”

  1. I won’t say anything against these methods; I’m sure they work – but my parents “encouraged” me to read by not owning a television or any video game system past the Atari 2600 and using bookshelves in lieu of wallpaper.

    • My dad has always said, the best thing you can do for a child is read to him or her. He read to us from the time we were born and I was reading on my own by the age of 2. I’ve done the same with my own kids.
      I would venture to say books are our most valuable possessions – ours, in our house… oodles of them.

  2. The author forgot one key point. LET THE KID SEE YOU READ!!! If you spend hours reading your kids Cat in the Hat – and then go sit down and watch a hockey game – the only message the kid is going to get is – “Gee, reading must be something just for kids. Can’t wait until I grow up and don’t have to anymore.”

    In the words of Plato – “Would it help you to pick up a book now and then, you moron?”

  3. I’m all for helping kids to learn reading, and there is certainly nothing wrong with starting them as early as possible. So these are good overall, and more tips could be added.

    But I do wonder about the following statement:

    Reading scores in first grade are a key indicator of school success in 11th grade.

    Are there studies to back that up? I mean, I didn’t learn to read until my second 3rd grade year, and didn’t get interested in reading until 5th grade. And yet I graduated in the top 10% of my class in high school. And reading certainly wasn’t emphasized in my family growing up.

    I’ve also read in places that starting kids early doesn’t tend to give them much of a head start as people tend to think. And the pressure to learn as early as possible can actually backfire. So a more “organic” experience would be great, but not sure it is the end of the world if our kids don’t really start becoming interested until later.

    So that’s why I’m wondering if this is from a study or two, or just because it sounds logical. I could just be the exception, after all. I don’t know.

    • Since the article is from Reader’s Digest they tend to condense everything. I don’t know where they got this. Might be an op ed piece.

    • Anecdotal evidence suggests that nerds who read novels in 1st grade will do better academically in 11th grade. Finding studies to back that up is hampered by reason of I am lazy.

    • Jason Brook Jr.

      You aren’t wrong. I read the most between 12 and 16. During that time I read 100s, maybe 1000s of books. Now I rarely read at all, except online web pages and comics and, as a writer, a few pages here and there, but in a evaluative sort of sense, not really for enjoyment.

      The next book I will read will be the last WoT novel and maybe whatever Brandon S. puts out next. if Salvatore, Fiest or R. Hobb puts out something decent, I might also be convinced to read, but WoT will be done in 2 days and smaller books much less. There are such long spaces between decent books and I devour any good writer’s backlist I come across in days.

      Also, there are just not that many writers left anymore that I can read and get that ‘wow’ feeling from. (I’m seriously getting too old, lol.) That’s one reasons that I have hope for the future thanks to self pubbing. I’m looking forward to having even more interesting stories to read!

  4. Basically, everyone who said “let your kids see you reading.” Also, have books in your house. (Real books, not just coffee table books and books of celebrity trivia.) If you have a tv, put it in a separate room, don’t have it where everyone can see it all the time. (In a way, it was great growing up before cable, because there were few choices of what to see and little of that was directed at kids.)

    However, none of this worked with my sister. She did not like to read, though she was not illiterate or anything. She was just very active and sociable, and preferred being outside playing with her friends and so on. Some people just don’t like to read all that much.

  5. Three kids in my family. Neither of my parents read much. I read every book I could get my hands on and then some. My brothers barely read.

    I think, like many other things, it is often a matter of taste.

    I had a friend who was proud of the fact that he didn’t read. He never seemed to like it when I called him a voluntary illiterate.

  6. Jason Brook Jr.

    I pretty much agree. Kids need a ton from us in the early years and we have so much opportunity to shape our kids into good human beings. I don’t have kids, but I know I would teach him or her bravery, determination and the discipline to follow through as well as friendship, love and sound judgement. Books are an EXCELLENT way to achieve that (both the darker and lighter fiction type – simulated bad and the higher good. Not to mention the ‘gray area’ books that kids really need to experience to interact well in the world.)

  7. I learned to read from techniques in the Glen Doman book, Teach Your Baby To Read (probably available from iahp.org if nowhere else). I used those techniques with my kid (sometimes desperately — she’d look at word-cards when it was late at night and she was fussy and I had no idea what else would entertain her!), and she was reading way before preschool. Now she maxes out the Lexile Score and makes the middle school’s computer program cry because it has nothing “age appropriate” for a 12-year-old whose Lexile Score fits with college theses.

    (Even her early TV watching had a lot of reading — subtitled anime like Cardcaptor Sakura, say. (Do NOT get the dubbed “Cardcaptors.” It is foul.))

  8. Yes, to having a home full of books, yes to letting your kids see you reading and talking about books as if books matter. Yes to taking your kids to the library, the bookmobile, story hour, and any and all events held at your local libraries and bookstores.

    When we travel, we never pass a bookstore without going in and browsing. Our kids learned early on that we were easy touches when it came to buying books for them. And most kids are crass materialists, so you have to play to that. Our kids have their own bookshelves, and now their own Kindles.

    Our motto in re: turning our children into lifelong readers: Whatever it takes. We never had to pay our kids to read, but we would have done so if that’s what it took.

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