How to Build Successful Readers:

Strategies for Parents



The love of reading begins at home.  As parents, you play a vital role in

your child’s reading development.  Here, you’ll find ideas and activities you can use to

nurture children’s love of reading, preparing them for success in school and beyond.



 Read to and with your child every day. 

By far, this is the most important thing you can do

to promote a love of reading. Reading aloud to a young child, even before a baby can hold a book,

stimulates the child’s mind and helps to build an appreciation for books. Reading to children before

they start school will improve their vocabulary and prepare them for learning to read on their own.

Try to read to your child for 30 minutes each day. If that is not possible, remember that five minutes a

day is better than none.  For emerging readers, you may want to read several words while your child follows along,

supplying the next word. Ask your child to find letters and words on the page. When your young

reader has gained enough skill, invite your child to read with you. Play a game by alternating

sentences—you read one sentence and your child reads the next.

When you are unable to read to your child, ask grandparents, neighbors, babysitters, siblings,

and other caregivers to step in and serve as the designated reader for the day. Besides increasing

skills and appreciation for books, these reading sessions will create memories that will last a lifetime.


 Make reading meaningful. 

Show your emerging reader how reading and writing help you get things done every day—cooking,

shopping, driving, and so on. Teach yourchild simple words that appear often in daily life, such as

“stop,” “exit,” “walk,” and “bus.” Onceyour young reader sees the connection between reading

and daily tasks, your child will come to understand the importance of learning to reading.


 Dedicate time to read as a family.


Set aside time at home to read and share stories.   Family reading provides

valuable practice and reinforces the importance of reading well.


Show your child how much you love to read.


Model your own interest in reading by reading in front of your child often.

Let your emerging reader see you read for pleasure, and encourage your

child to do the same. Suggest reading as a freetimeactivity, and make sure your child

has time to read every day.


 Set up a reading area in your home.


Put books your child enjoys in a single location where they can be easily accessed—

such as a bookshelf in a bedroom. Choose a quiet, well lighted

place, and equip it with a comfortable chair and anything else your young reader may

need. As your child’s reading skills improve, add more challenging

books to the collection.


Let your child choose the books of interest.


By allowing your child to select books, you are empowering your emerging reader

to take charge of learning. Your child will feel active and involved,

increasing excitement and adding to the fun of reading.


Pair books with activities your child enjoys.


Encourage your child to read books about favorite activities. You may also combine

those activities with books on the subject. For example, if you’re

planning to spend a day at the beach, suggest your child read a story about the ocean.

Discuss the book as you travel to and from the activity. Onthe way home, discuss how

the beach met—or didn’t meet—expectations from the book.


 Visit the library often.

Take your child on trips to the library and build excitement about borrowing books.

Make getting your child’s first library card a special event.


Revisit the books you loved as a child.


Introduce your child to some of your favorite childhood books. Borrow them from the library

and read them together. Ask your child to pick out a favorite book so you can read it.

Then discuss it together.


Practice writing with letters to family members.


Encourage your child to write notes to grandparents and other relatives. Ask the family

members to write back. Doing so will not only improve your child’s

reading and writing skills, but bring your family closer together, as well.


End every day with a bedtime story.

Establish a bedtime ritual that includes reading aloud to your child. As bedtime approaches,

model your excitement for reading by talking with your child about how you can’t wait to find out

what happens in the next chapter, and discuss what each of you thinks will happen next. In

addition to helping your child gain an appreciation for good stories, this routine will give you and your

child more quality time together.


 Celebrate your child’s success.


Celebrate when your child finishes new or challenging books. Take your young reader out for

a treat, get more books, or rent a movie adaptation of the book, if one is available. Compare the story

told in the movie to the original story in the book.


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© 2013 Renaissance Learning, Inc.

Last modified: Monday, February 10, 2014, 12:04 PM