For most parents, they understand how important reading is for children, especially at a young age. As they grow older though, it can be more difficult to gauge whether they understand the meaning of what they are reading. Here are a few ways you as a parent can help you child find meaning in what they are reading:
- Read a wide range of texts. Fiction and storybooks are great for building imagination, but kids are smart enough to read more than just fairytales. Nonfiction books, as well as poetry, news articles, and even how to books are great to read with your kids. When you are cooking dinner, ask your child to read you the instructions from the recipe.This will help them build their comprehension skills.
- Tell stories to your kids. You were a kid once. What they are experiencing now in their life, you have probably already gone through. Tell them stories of your own childhood. Leaving out little details will allow your child to use their imagination and infer to fill in the blanks.
- Continue reading with your kids. Earlier in the year, we wrote about how beneficial it is to read to your kids, even after they have learned to read themselves. They are able to hear how words are pronounced, build their vocabulary, and help them understand the meaning behind higher level texts than they are used to.
- Read about one specific topic. While reading 100 books on dinosaurs or horses seems boring to you, focusing on one topic can actually help your child have a better vocabulary and comprehension skills. Daughter watching Frozen for the millionth time? Consider getting a book on Nordic myths or fairy tales. Find a book about how snowflakes are formed. Get a book about reindeer! The possibilities are endless.
- Read books related to current/upcoming events. If a certain holiday is coming up, or you are planning a family vacation somewhere, find a book on the holiday or where you are going. If you are going somewhere with a connection to history, read about the event or landmark there. It will help them get excited for the event, and will build vocabulary and meaning.
- Ask them questions. Preferably ones that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Asking more open ended questions will allow your child to think critically and understand the book on a new level.
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