Improve Reading Kids’ Reading Skills By Making Reading Fun

Question: My children, who are currently in second and fourth grades, are just barely reading on grade level. What can I do this summer to help them to up their reading level and get them hooked on books? — Need a Plan

Answer: Most unmotivated readers don’t associate reading with the word “fun.” They limit their reading to school assignments. Start off by reading to your children every day. Select reading material that will make them laugh. Poems written by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky and Bruce Lansky will definitely tickle their funny bones. You will be able to get other good suggestions from your local librarian. Once they see that reading can be fun, your children will be ready to tackle some reading on their own.

Begin by having them read material that is fun and that caters to their interests. If you can find books that are slightly below their reading level, they will feel more confident in their reading ability and more likely to read more. Plus, the more they read, the more their reading will improve.

You can further build your children’s excitement about reading by helping them become active readers. We do not mean that they are to run around the room as they read. No, they are to become interactive with the printed page. You can help them learn how to do this by asking them questions about what they think will be happening next in a story. Also, have discussions with them about the author’s point of view in what they are reading.

Select from the activities below to help your children become even more excited about reading:

1. Have great reading materials spread throughout your home, from magazines to vacation brochures.

2. Be sure each child has his or her personal collection of fiction and nonfiction books.

3. Start a book club with neighbors.

4. Have your children take part in the summer reading program at your library.

5. Give them a magazine subscription.

6. Let them stay up at night an extra 15 or 30 minutes to read in bed.

In addition to getting them excited about reading, attending a summer school program at elementary schools, colleges and learning centers can usually improve children’s reading skills.

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Question: We always hear about the great benefits of family dinners. But what do we talk about when the TV and phones are off with a teen and a preschooler? — Silent Meals

Answer: Research definitely shows the benefits of family dinners, especially when families eat together at least four times a week. At your dinner table, you can model healthy dinnertime conversation without any outside distractions.

To break the silence at your family dinner tonight, here are some conversational starters:

¯ It’s easy to begin every meal by each family member telling one thing that they did that day, even if it is what they had for lunch or where they ate.

¯ What would you like to do this weekend?

¯ Is anything special happening at school this week?

¯ Did anything different happen today?

¯ What is the most interesting thing you know about your grandparents?

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