One of the last things you want as a parent is for your child to have a bad experience learning to read. Good reading skills are the foundational blocks of academic success. So how can you ensure that your child has a good introduction to reading that will set them up for a positive journey?
An astounding number of kids across American are not reading at grade level by the time they reach 3rd grade. .Parents and teachers are often unaware that a child is not actually reading until it is too late, as kids will memorize a bank of words to get by (roughly 2,000 basic words) and then find they can’t “fake” reading anymore once they reach the latter part of their elementary education…and that’s where the real problems start. Nationally, 37% of 4th graders read below the basic standard level (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2022). This is a statistic that is too high to go unnoticed.
As parents, what can we do to make sure our children succeed? Well the first and most important step is to read, daily, to your child. Have books in your home. If you need books in your home, you can register your child for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and your child will be mailed a free, age appropriate book of their very own, every month, up to the age of 5. Read yourself, and let your child see you reading. Make a weekly trip to the library part of your schedule. Most libraries have a toddler/young children reading hour. Practice the alphabet and help your child learn their letters and the sounds they make. Make reading with your child part of your daily routine. There are free programs such as “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” that will help guide you and provide motivation, inspiration, and fun rewards- and it is entirely doable (especially as reading the same book over and over counts too!)
What we don’t want is for reading to be a chore, or hard, or frustrating. Picking stories your child finds interesting is a good start. You will know when your child is ready to start reading when they start pretending to read a book, or point to the words in a storybook that you are reading to them. These are good indicators that your child is ready. Making learning to read fun is so important. It is also important to set your child up for success so that their early reading experiences are fun and not frustrating. I am a big proponent of games and gameschooling to make ALL learning fun. There are lots of options out there for you to choose, many of which have won Mom’s Choice Awards! So get going, start reading, and playing educational games with your kids! Enjoy!
About Erika Bird
Erika is the director of the educational publishing company Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, which publishes the multiple award wining learn to read game “The Reading Game” and the storybook and worksheet series for elementary-aged children called “The Magic Stories.” She is also a co-author of the Wordly Wise 3000 Vocabulary Textbook series. A lifelong reader and advocate for literacy, Erika serves on the Board of the San Diego Council on Literacy.