For many kids, reading just doesn't come easily. Some kids
have difficulty connecting letters and their corresponding sounds.
Others have yet to discover that special enchanting story that
grabs the imagination and shows just how fun reading can be. For
all kids, though, being at ease with letters, their sounds, and
words is an important foundation for learning throughout life.
Here are a few simple ways to help kids become eager
Start with your child's picks.
Comics or joke books may not be your first choice to cultivate
literacy, but they can motivate kids to read.
Don't worry that these texts may not be substantial enough.
They can play important roles in helping kids understand some
fundamentals, like how events take place in a sequence and stories
are laid out. They also help build vocabulary and show that books
can be visually appealing. Once your child becomes comfortable with
the experience of reading, you can encourage other literature
selections with a variety of challenging content.
Read and reread and reread.
Many kids reach for the same books over and over again. That's
OK. Through repetition kids can master the text and eventually sail
through it with ease and confidence. Each new reading of the book
may also help them understand it just a little better. And that
positive experience may inspire them to give new books a try.
By reading aloud, you can help build your child's vocabulary,
show that you enjoy reading for fun, and help your child connect
sounds with letters on the page. Above all, reading aloud provides
together time that you'll both enjoy. And it doesn't have
to end once kids get older. The comfort of a parent's voice and
undivided attention is something kids never outgrow.
Create opportunities to read and write beyond the
Provide kids with many rewarding chances to read every day. Write
notes and leave them on a pillow, in a lunchbox, or in a pocket.
Ask friends and relatives to send postcards and letters. Leave
magnetic letters and words on the refrigerator, and you may find
kids spontaneously creating words, sentences, and stories. On road
trips or errands, play word games that strengthen language skills.
You might try "I Spy" ("I spy something that starts
with an 'a' â€¦") or games where you pick a category
like "food" and then everyone has to name foods that
begin with a certain letter. Kids often like reading signs seen
while you're on the road, like those on restaurants.
Get help if you're worried.
If you're concerned about your child's ability or
willingness to read, don't wait to get help. Consult with your
child's doctor or teacher. If they share your concern, they may
be able to suggest resources to help your child become an eager
Gail S. Diederich, MS
Date reviewed: August 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2009 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.