By Ndidi Adekunle
Readers are leaders, so developing a good reading habit is important. Are you having a hard time helping your child become an avid reader?
Bearing in mind that your job is not to teach, but to reinforce good reading habits, here are some guidelines;
1. To start, make your child read out to you a few minutes everyday. Habits are formed when they are done regularly. Don’t stop until silent reading ability is gradually established.
2. Select books that are easy to read with interesting story lines sure to hold your child’s attention. The purpose is not to teach skills, but to practice fluency and learn to enjoy reading.
3. Let your child choose the books, as long as they are at the “independent” level.
4. As the child reads, show him how to observe punctuation marks.
5. Ask questions to test your child’s comprehension such as. “why do you think John wanted those shoes?”
6. Try not to make too much corrections. Encourage your child to listen to himself and read meaningfully.
7. Remember, perfection is not the goal, comprehension is. Accuracy will follow if understanding leads.
8. At the end of the passage, ask your child to recount the story to test comprehension. Help her find only the main ideas and important parts and recall them in order. Encourage quality rather than quantity in retelling.
9. You can take this further by extending the story by allowing your child create another ending, a different main character, or a different setting.
10. You can encourage him to draw pictures from the story. Research shows that good “comprehenders”, instinctively make mental pictures when they read, and that poorer readers’ comprehension can be improved by direct instruction in this important strategy.
11. Celebrate your child’s efforts and daily achievements by praising him. This often encourages them to do more.
12. Encourage habits of independent reading. Turn off the TV and let the whole family find something to read.
In all, despite all our efforts really, children will always learn to read by reading.