Reading Refreshers: Instill a Love for Reading (K-3)
By Payal Uttum


A great way to help your child become a lifelong reader is to start early. If a young child doesn't like reading, he may have a hard time comprehending what he reads later in life.

"Reading is not just a subject in school; it's a habit for life," says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., vice president of education for Sylvan Learning Center. "Reading is the foundation of all learning and when we give our children the love of learning it is a gift that will last a lifetime."

Here are five tips to help your child fall in love with reading.

1. Pay attention to your child's interests. If dinosaurs fascinate your child, buy him science books describing different dinosaur types. A child is more inclined to read if he is interested in a book's subject matter.

2. Show your child that reading is fun. Play games with your child after she finishes reading and ask her to retell stories. Children can learn about structure and how stories are written by verbalizing a story themselves.

3. Use bedtime bribes. Allow children to stay up for an extra 15 minutes if they promise to spend that time reading. Once a child starts reading, he discovers his interests. Soon he will no longer need an extra incentive to read.

4. Practice what you preach. Be a role model for your child by reading regularly and encourage all family members to read. Young children mimic the behavior of their older family members. Children will be more inclined to pick up a book if they see their brothers and sisters reading.

"Being a role model for reading is a good suggestion for parents of children of all ages," Bavaria says. "When our children see us reading for enjoyment, reading to gather information, or reading to perform a task, they see the relevance reading has in all parts of our lives."

5. Set a family reading time. Not only will this set a good example for your child, but it will help enhance reading skills. Family reading time ensures that you will be around to help if she is having difficulties with vocabulary or sentence structure.

Recommended Books:
And If the Moon Could Talk by Kate Banks, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1998.
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, Harcourt Children’s Books, 2003.
David Goes to School by David Shannon, Blue Sky Press, 1999.
Curious George by H. A. Rey, Houghton Mifflin, 1973.
Daisy and the Egg by Jane Simmons, Little Brown & Company, 1999.