How Do I Help My Child Improve Reading Skills?
“How can I help my child in school?” is a common question asked by parents. Over the years, I have come up with several ways that a parent can support their child’s learning without becoming part of homework or starting an argument. In this blog, I am sharing several ways to help your child improve reading skills through books, TV, and sports. These strategies help them build skills related to character and plot development, as well as critical thinking skills. These important reading skills can help your child become a better reader in school.
Books: Making Predictions
Many children have a hard time understanding what’s happening in a story. Try reading a book with your child that is slightly below their reading level. Your local librarian can help find a good choice. First, read a paragraph out loud, then have your child read the next one. Then stop and ask what do they think will happen next. If this is too hard, do all the reading yourself, but stop after a few paragraphs and ask what your child thinks will happen next. You can also ask if they like one of the characters and then ask why.
TV Shows: Character Traits
If there is a TV show that you and your child enjoy, use the commercial breaks to ask about the characters. Do they like the character? Why? Pick a character and ask if that character is good or bad. Before the commercial ends, ask what they think will happen next.
TV Sports: Think Critically
If you enjoy watching football with your child, get them into the habit of predicting what will happen next, based on patterns. Looking at the offensive line-up, will the play be a pass or a run? Why do they think that choice is coming? This might sound silly, but you are helping your child think critically, which is an important thinking skill.
Whichever platform you choose, ask your child these key, yet simple, questions as you share the experience. You’ll enrich your time together AND your child will begin to think more deeply and critically as he or she reads and observes. Over time, you’ll have a better reader in your home and at school.
By Susan Lena
RITES Board Member
Susan Lena has a BA and M.ED. in education. She has taught children in grades 1-6 for twenty years and been an Elementary School Principal for ten years. Susan has helped numerous students improve their reading skills.