getting kindergarteners to read
5 Ways To Encourage Reading At Home
28 Dec, 2014. 3 Comments. . Posted By: Kristen Smith
getting kindergarteners to read

5 Ways to Encourage Reading At Home

Reading is a skill that takes time to develop. In young children, the road to reading is typically a journey. It is a glorious process that takes time  to master and can be enjoyed in every stage of the process. In school, students learn to build their stamina and how to decode words in their books. They learn how to read the pictures and how to retell stories. Students practice the skills that they will need to be fluent readers every day in school. However, when it comes to reading at home, parents often ask, “How do I get my child to read at home?” I have compiled some tips that might help improve the success rate of your child not only reading at home, but also enjoying his or her time reading in the comfort of your house.

Books should capture your child's imagination and interests

Books should capture your child’s imagination and interests

1. Have Books At Home That Your Child Is Interested In Reading
Interest is key. If your child is not interested in the books that you have at home, more than likely, they will not want to read at home. There are a few ways that you can solve this problem. You do not have to purchase a ton of books to create a library for your child. The  public library is a great way to stock up on your child’s favorite characters, authors, and topics. Many of my families have a library day where they all go together and pick out new books. This is a highlight of many of my students’ weeks. They love to pick out new books and to read them at home. Going to the library also allows your child to explore a variety of books and topics without your having to buy the books! Many local libraries will even allow you to borrow ebooks!

Another way to stock up on books is by using Scholastic. Scholastic offers monthly deals that are affordable and also tends to showcase series that are popular amongst your child’s age group. They also offer packs of multiple books that your child might be interested in.

Finally, stores such as “Half Price Books” are great ways to buy bargain books. Creating a library for your child does not have to cost a fortune!! These stores often have many books on hand! If they do not have the title that you are looking for, many times, they can order it for you!

2. Create A Reading Routine
Children do very well with structure. If your child is having a hard time settling down to read, may I suggest creating a routine in your household. Once your child gets home from school, give them some time to relax and to eat a {healthy} snack. However, after they have had some down time {preferably playing outside}, create a time when your child knows it is time to read. Research has shown that it takes about 21 days to create a habit, so keep at it! Every night, at the same time, have your child practice reading.

create a space where your child can read

create a space where your child can read

3. Create a Reading Area
Along with creating a TIME to read, you should also create a SPACE for your child to read. {There are so many really neat reading nooks on Pinterest!} Remember that not all children prefer to read in the same position. At school, I let my kids read in a variety of poses! Many like to read on the floor on their bellies, Whereas others will read in very unique poses! This all depends on the child! My theory is, if they are reading and are comfortable, let them do it! Even though YOU might not prefer to read with your legs up against the wall and the book in the air, doesn’t mean that it is the wrong way to read! As long as your child stays engaged with his or her books, give them the freedom to read how they are comfortable. If your child gets distracted while reading, redirect them back to their book. Set a timer and encourage your child to read for a set amount of time. Start off with small successes! When you are first starting, have your child read for 1 minute. The next day, have them read for 1.5 minutes. As they begin to build their stamina, reading will seem less and less like a chore. Slowly increase the designated reading time until you have reached the desired amount.

4. Read WITH or TO your child
Reading with and to your child is so important. I cannot urge you enough to read with your child. First of all, your child loves it. Second, the more children hear fluid reading, the better they get at reading with fluency. I often encourage my parents who say it is a struggle for their child to read at home, to have them read one page of their child’s book and then have the child read the next page. This gives the child a break and allows them to enjoy the book with you! I have seen this method work wonders for reluctant readers.

Also, share YOUR favorite books with your child. If you loved “My Father’s Dragon” as a child, chances are, your child will love it, too!  I love to share my favorite books with my students and because I love the books, they love the books.

5 ways to encourage reading at home
5. Let Your Child See You Read

Lastly, if you are modeling reading at home for your child, they are also going to want to read at home. Make sure that you take the time to talk about the books that you are reading or ask your child about the books that they are reading. By opening up this dialogue at home, you will begin to create a reading culture in your household. Many of my friends who are parents will read the same books that their children are reading in order to create this dialogue with their children. This is a great way to connect with your child! It will also give you insight into what your child enjoys! {Some sample questions that you could ask your child are, ‘What is the problem in your book?’ ‘Which character is your favorite so far?’ ‘Would you want to be friends with the main character in your book?’ (why or why not?) ‘How do you think the character will solve the problem?’ For nonfiction books, ask your child what they have learned!}

A few more tips: Remember to keep realistic expectations. If your child is 5, they probably should be reading for about 5-20 minutes a night. As your child gets older, you can expect them to read for longer amounts of time. Also, make sure that your child is reading a book that is on his or her level. A general rule of thumb is that if you open up your child’s book to any page and they struggle on 5 or more words, then the book is too hard for your child to read independently. I call this the “5 finger test.” If the book is too hard, this would be a great book for you (the parent) to read to your child.

Reading time should be an enjoyable time at home. I hope that these tips were helpful!

  1. Well said. Thank you. I wish I could print this to share with my first graders’ parents.

  2. Jennifer Hancock -

    Thanks for this post! I shared it with my parents via our classroom FB page!


  • Well said. Thank you. I wish I could print this to share with my first graders’ parents.

  • Jennifer Hancock -

    Thanks for this post! I shared it with my parents via our classroom FB page!

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