Raising a Reader

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Charleston Moms is proud to partner with Mason Prep to bring our readers the following post.

As parents, we all want to instill the love of reading in our children. I’ve never spoken to a mom who says “Nah, I don’t really care if my child likes reading.” That’s because reading is an essential life skill that builds children’s confidence and helps them to be successful throughout their educational career.

Our friends at Mason Prep know the value of reading and want to help their students develop a passion for literature that will stick with them throughout their lives. They have put together a list of tips to help parents of children in two developmental stages: kindergarten/pre-kindergarten and elementary grades.

Kindergarten/Pre-Kindergarten

When your child is in this stage, the goal isn’t for your child to read the words on the page. The goal is to create a readiness to read. All children will read at different ages and stages, but there are a few simple things you can do now to facilitate their readiness.

Read to Your Child

This is by far the most important thing you can do for your child’s reading readiness. It’s never too early (or too late) to start!

Let Your Child Interact as You Read

As you read to your child, talk about the story outside of the actual words on the page. Ask them questions along the way like “Where do you think they are going?” and “How do you think that made him/her feel?”

Another fun idea is to ‘create’ the story together by simply looking at the pictures. Help your child look at all the details of an image to create the storyline. Children often enjoy creating an oral story (or listening to one you create). Go back and forth adding details to create a custom story!

If you’re reading this thinking your child is too young, but you do hope they love reading one day, encourage your baby/toddler to hold and look at books. Even if they hold it upside down, they are building the foundations they will need later in life.

Visit the Library

Charleston County Libraries offer various storytimes, art classes, take-home art projects, and so much more! By participating in these library events and activities, your child will begin to learn that libraries are a fun place to be and to learn.

Be sure to check out a book for yourself while you are there. Modeling reading yourself will impact your child’s desire to read (Monkey see, monkey do!).

Use Everyday Activities as a Tool

You can help lay foundations for reading comprehension by asking questions about an outing or activity. “What was your favorite part?” or “Tell Daddy what we did today.”

Don’t overlook letters and words we see printed every day. The cereal box. The road signs we pass heading to preschool. Have your child point out letters they recognize and help them sound out words they see.

Waiting on a table for dinner? Sitting in the doctor’s office before your child’s appointment? Play a game of “I, Spy Letters!”

Keep it Fun

Make sure reading time is fun and special. If your child wants to read the same book over and over, let them! And remember, your child will learn to read when the time is right!

Elementary Grades

When your child is already reading, your job is to continue to encourage him or her and help instill the love of reading. Here are some tips to support them at home.

Use the Library to Find a Book Series

Finding a topic that your child is interested in is the key. If your child loves mysteries or fiction, go to the library together to find a perfect fit. Don’t get hung up on the reading level, either. You are just hoping to find something that will hold his/her attention.

Read Books Together

Play ‘popcorn’ with your child where you read a few pages and then he/she does the same. Help them with a word when they struggle and move on. This isn’t necessarily a teaching time as much as it is quality time together.

Engage with the content by asking questions every few pages. “What do you think it was like to live in these times?” “Would you ever want to visit a place like this?”

Read Everywhere

Reading doesn’t have to be limited to just books. Let your child read the dinner menu. Ask them to read the directions as you drive to a friend’s house. Create a car game where your child gets points for every sign they read. Increasing points increases their confidence.

Try Different Reading Activites

Reading doesn’t have to be seen as a chore or task they have to complete for school. And it doesn’t mean they have to sit down with an actual book to grow as a reader. Consider other activities to engage them, such as:

  • Subscribe your child to a kid-friendly magazine
  • Write a book together as a family
  • Ask your child to read to a sibling
  • Get your child his/her own library card

Keep Track of Your Child’s Progress…but Try Not to Compare!

Again, every child’s reading progress is different, and that’s okay! Just because your oldest child could read chapter books in first grade doesn’t mean your middle child is behind because they aren’t doing the same.

As parents, we have the joy and privilege of helping our children become lifelong readers. Incorporate these things into your daily life now, and your child will thank you later!

Connect with Mason Prep

If you are looking for a nurturing and supportive place for your child, Mason Prep is a wonderful school, and community, to check out.

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Katie Finch is an Alabama native who spent the past nine years living in sunny Jupiter, Florida where she co-owned three Uptown Art (think wine and painting) studios with her sister for seven years. She graduated from Auburn with a degree in Marketing, so her role was all things marketing, cross promotion, advertising, social media, and event planning. After selling the studios, she and her husband relocated to the Charleston area with their two children (David who is 3 1/2 and Selwin Mae who is 1 1/2) in April, and she can honestly say they are loving every day here! They love the Southern hospitality, scrumptious food, and exploring this great city. In her free time Katie enjoy walking, listening to worship music, a (stereotypical) bubble bath, and watching the Bachelor. She also loves a strong cup of coffee, anything with chocolate, and a well-rounded glass of Pinot Noir.

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