If you’re looking for ways to help your child learn to read and write, especially if you want quick, practical and fun ideas, try these top five tips from the Raising a Rock-Star Reader book.
Books unlock so much opportunity for our children, don’t they? If you know how to read you can fill your head with imagined worlds and learn about any topic you’re interested in. We all want our children to be strong readers, but it’s not always easy to know how to get them there. When should we start reading with our children? How do you teach them to read? What should we be doing to help our kids get ready for learning to write things of their own?
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I’d like to tell you about Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips to Help Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love of Reading, a new book written by my friends Amy Mascott and Allison MacDonald. It is full of bite-sized ideas that you can so easily use at home to support your children.
The activities in the book are clever ideas that will show you how you can incorporate reading into your everyday routines and play. Amy and Allison are experienced teachers who specialise in preschool and elementary literacy. They’ve so skilfully distilled all their years of knowledge and experience into a practical book that you can use with your children – whether you have a baby, toddler, preschooler or an elementary-aged child.
Top 5 tips to turn your child into a reading rock star
To give you a taste of what’s inside, I thought I’d share with you five top tips from the book. They are easy to do and use things you already have, but come with the clever rock-star twist that makes them so much more effective.
Tip One :: make a personal ABC book. How nice to cosy up together and read something that’s made especially for your child. The book has lots of different ideas for how you can put your personalised alphabet together, depending on whether you want a quick cut-and-glue book or a more high-tech digital version. Children love things that are personal to them, and having a book that features photos of their own family, toys, and pets is such a great idea.
Tip two :: let your child show you how a book works. Teaching someone else really boosts your own understanding, and for children who love to be independent (hello toddlers everywhere!) this idea is an effective one. Your child can feel like an expert and explain to you how these book things work, and maybe they’ll even tell you their version of the story.
Tip three :: have a library-book parade. The book is so good at taking something you already do – like getting books from the library – and giving it that little rockstar twist to make it so much more effective. So here, instead of putting your new books on the shelf or in a book basket, where you can hardly see them and they’re so easily overlooked, why not put them out on display in this eye-catching parade. I’ve seen this to be so effective with my girls. Books in a basket, they hardly see them. Books out on the coffee table in front of the sofa, they can hardly help pick them up and start reading.
Tip four :: find the best writing tools for your child. Allison explains how switching to chalks, rather than a pencil, made all the difference to her son when he was learning to write letters. Sometimes it’s about making the tool easier for your child to hold, sometimes it’s about the sensory feel of the writing surface, sometimes it’s about adding novelty to keep children interested. This is such a simple change you can make that can be so effective.
Tip Five :: build fine motor skills to make writing easier. I really like how the book has ideas for much younger children so that you can support your child’s gentle development through play. There are lots of ideas for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in the book, which let them explore the first steps. Then, when they get to the stage when they are starting reading and writing more formally, their bodies and minds are ready. Long before we’d expect our children to use pencils to write words, we can help them get their fingers and hands ready through things like playing with Lego.
As parents we all want our children to be strong readers, but we don’t always know how to help our children, to make it easy and fun for them to learn. In Raising a Rock-Star Reader, Allison and Amy have done all the thinking for us, so we can follow their lead, using their expertise and experience, to give our children the best opportunity to do well.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, and this post contains affiliate links.