School and Reading
School Readiness and Reading Support
Raising a Reader
Why should you read to your school age child?
- You'll show you care
- Your child will become smarter
- Your child will read better
- Your child will want to read
- Your child will enjoy difficult books
- Your child will think with more imagination, depth, and focus
- Your child will become stronger and more compassionate
10 Tips To raise a Reader
1. Read-Aloud to your children every day, throughout the elementary years
- Read aloud to your children at least 30 minutes per day. Quiet or practice reading your children do by themselves is separate from this.
- Have a daily read-aloud routine that fits best into your schedule. This is your chance to read quality books that are beyond your child's reading skills but that are at their listening level.
2. Be a reading role model
- Convince your children that reading is important and wonderful by showing them. Quite simply, if you don't read for pleasure, don't expect them to.
- Fathers especially need to show children that men love books. Your power as a role model, positive or negative, is stunning.
3. Create a Print-Rich Environment
- Your children must see books, magazines, and other print in every room of your home. Surround yourself and your home with a wide assortment of print, from novels to manuals to poetry, dictionaries and newspapers.
- Children will have an opportunity to read anytime and know that you value books because they are everywhere.
- Encourage children to read to find information.
- Encourage writing along with reading.
4. Limit and Control Screen Time
- Limit your child's screen (TV,tablet,phone, video, computer combined) time to less than 2 hours per day.
- Children who watch a lot of TV have lower school scores. Screens foster a short attention span, while books lengthen it.
5. Limit Other Activities
- Clubs, lessons, classes (e.g. piano, hockey, swimming, etc.) benefit children too. But too many of these leave little time or energy for pleasure reading or read-aloud time. Be choosy and limit these extracurricular activities. Reading requires a lot of time but it's worth it.
6. Use the Public Library
- Your child needs plenty of good books. The public library especially has the vast quantities and rich quality you'll need. Get library cards for yourself and for your children and visit the library to exchange books or attend programs regularly.
7. Consult the Children's Librarian
- Children's librarians offer expert and unbiased guidance in choosing books. Children's librarians are educated and trained for this purpose, and can help you make connections and find the quality books you might not find on your own.
8. Build a Home Library
- Children need to own books to look at, savour, re-read, and love. Buying books demonstrates that books are important enough to spend money on. Provide a reading environment of quality materials.
- Buy books as presents. They are cheap compared to electronic software and hardware. "A book is a present you can open again and again." (Anonymous)
9. Establish Read Alone Time for your child to practice and build a reading habit
- Children need to have time to read. Kids need to read a lot in order to become good at it. It doesn't matter what they read, as long as they enjoy it. Practice is everything.
- Make sure they have books that interest them and are at their reading level. Reading should be enjoyable.
10. Make Reading A Social Activity
- Make reading aloud a cool activity among your child's friends. Stories and books should be an integral part of social events, like sleepovers, camping, and family outings.
- Talk about the books you read and the people, things and animals in them. Interactive talk is important.
- Have older children read to younger brothers and sisters.
- Keep CDs or download audio of favourite stories and songs in the car to play on long journeys.
- Make use of quality books on CDs during busy times in the daily schedule or download audiobooks from Overdrive.
Choosing the Right Books for Your Child To Read
Consider the following when selecting books and reading materials for your children.
- Experience - Make use of children's librarians' expertise. They select good books for a living!
- Individual interests - Keep your child's interests in mind. A reluctant reader may give a book a chance if it appeals to his/her interests. Remember, books can be very individual. Every book is not for every child.
- Memorable characters - In a good book, the characters have a realistic quality, which evoke feelings in the reader as the story progresses. They are well-developed, multi-faceted, complex and strongly draw you into their lives and exploits. Characters in a poor or mediocre story are forgettable, stereotyped and one-dimensional/unrealistic.
- An interesting story - Does the plot grab you? Are you curious about what will happen next? Is there an element of surprise, an intriguing problem to solve, or a fascinating theme compelling you to turn the page? If so, this is a book to read because it involves the reader.
- Staying power - A really great book will have staying power or depth, whether it's a simple picture book or a chapter book. You can revisit the book several times and find something different each time; it could be something new that will delight you or something touching that will move you.
- Pick books you like - Enthusiasm is important when suggesting a book. If you don't like a book this will come through, and will influence your child.
- Not condescending - The tone of the book must be respectful, whether it's aimed at teens or toddlers. The language should be clear enough for the target audience to grasp and understand, but not be insulting.
- Requires imagination - Good books make readers use their imagination. A memorable reading experience is one where the reader is not passive. The story engages the reader in some way, whether it's the characters, plot, theme, style or something else that keeps him/her reading. This is even true with non-fiction.
- Browse our booklists - Great Books - for recommended titles your child may enjoy.
- Be sure to check the Early Reading & Support information in the Preschoolers section.
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