Successful readers generally are products of parents who model this same behavior at home. Although many parents would like to say that they practice good reading habits, these habits are neither innate nor obvious.
Did you know that:
- While 80% of parents say it's very important for children to read books for fun, only 21% of parents themselves read every day.
- 53% of children of high-frequency readers are reading books for fun every day. However, among children whose parents read 2-3 times a month or less, only 15% read for fun daily.
Train parents on good household reading habits
Tell parents that their children should read for at least 20 minutes each day to continue growing and provide them with the following tips to help them make this happen:
- Most children say "If I want to read it, I will read it." Direct parents to "Find a Book" to help their children discover interesting, targeted books. Download and share our "Find a Book" flyer.
- Encourage parents to read aloud together with their child every day.
- Encourage parents to set a good example by keeping lots of reading material around the house and turning off TVs, radios and iPods.
Other ways parents can instill good reading habits:
- Model good reading habits by not limiting children to just bed-time reading.
- Make family time a reading time by scheduling time for the whole family to sit down together to read, or schedule a regular family library night.
- Subscribe to periodicals of interest in a child's name or highlight newspaper articles of interest to the child and read magazines in line at the grocery store.
Discuss what you are reading
The analytical skills used in discussion are what children need on reading tests, and in life. But sometimes parents don't know exactly how to discuss a book with their child. Help them to avoid yes/no questions such as "Did you like it?" Send home these discussion ideas in the form of actual quotations parents can use:
- "If the book was a TV show, which actors would you cast in it?"
- "If the main character in that story lived next door, would you two be friends?"
- "Where does the novel take place? Would you want to take a trip there? Why?"
Work reading into daily life
If a text is relevant to a child's life, he or she will want to read it. Sometimes parents do not know exactly how to work reading into daily life. Send home these and other ideas in the form of actual quotations parents can use:
- "Would you read that recipe to me while I cook, please?"
- "Look, here's a review in the newspaper of that movie you've been wanting to see."
- "I don't agree with you about that issue. Find an article online to convince me."
Scholastic & Yankelovich (2008), 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report