How to Raise a Reader
Published on January 23, 2024
Learning to read isn’t just about preparing your child for school. It also helps them develop cognitive and critical thinking skills, comprehension, independence, expression, and so much more. Simply put, learning to read has a profound impact on your child’s future.
If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. There are countless ways to integrate reading into your everyday lives—in small but mighty moments. Here are five tips to help you raise a young reader.
1. Start with Early Literacy.
Children are never too young to start developing early literacy—the skills and knowledge they need before learning how to read. Through stories, songs, and movement, your child can develop language, motor, and social skills that will prepare them for learning in school.
- Keep books within reach of your child’s play area. The first steps to reading include learning how to turn pages and orient books.
- Incorporate Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play into your child’s day. These five components help develop a variety of early literacy skills.
- Attend Storytimes at Siouxland Libraries, which are specialized for baby, toddler, and preschool age levels.
2. Read throughout the day.
Reading books out loud with your child is an excellent habit. But have you ever tried environmental reading? The world is filled with street signs, store logos, and cereal boxes—opportunities to connect printed words with meaning. As you run errands or cook dinner, practice reading all the print around you.
- Involve your reader while writing down your grocery list.
- Take a walk to read street names and traffic signs. While you’re reading, you’re also familiarizing your child with your neighborhood.
- Help your child cut out letters from magazines or cereal boxes to spell out their name.
3. Talk about books.
Whether you're reading together or independently, take time to talk about books with your child. Ask questions about the stories to help build vocabulary and comprehension. As you learn what kinds of books your reader enjoys, our library staff can help you find read-alikes.
- Find out if your child has a favorite character and what they like about them.
- Ask your reader what they think will happen next. Predicting the plot connects your child’s background knowledge to the story.
- Strengthen reading comprehension with story sequencing: ask your child to summarize the order of events from beginning to end.
4. Encourage reading.
Give positive reinforcement for when your child reads. Whether they pronounce a new word, finish a chapter, or read an entire series, find a way to connect their accomplishment with a positive experience.
- Sign up for Siouxland Libraries reading programs to earn prizes for reading.
- Keep a sticker chart or book list at home to help your reader visualize their progress.
- Celebrate whenever your child reaches a reading milestone. Enjoy a treat, a movie, or a fun activity together.
5. Be a reader yourself.
When your child sees you reading, you are modeling a good practice. Reading is a life-long skill and it's never too late to start again.
- Talk with your child about what you are reading, whether it’s a book, the newspaper, instructions, or a recipe.
- Follow a reading routine that works for your family. Schedule bedtime stories, library visits, or a designated evening to relax and read together.
- Find book recommendations with Book Butler! After a brief survey, we'll email you a personalized menu of titles.
Every reader’s journey is unique. Whatever your needs, the library is ready to help you along the way.