Reading is a gateway through which children can explore and engage with the words on a page, as well as advance skills that are essential to school success and development. Your child has worked hard all school year to achieve his or her current literacy levels. Finding ways to encourage your children to read throughout the summer allows them to maintain their skills and be ready for the upcoming school year!
There are many benefits to reading beyond knowledge gain. Reading allows children to be exposed to new vocabulary that they may not otherwise hear in daily life. Reading for just 15 minutes a day has the potential to expose a child to 1,000000 words in a year! Compared to reading one minute each day, a child may only be introduced to 8,000 words in a year.
Reading throughout the summer months can help expose your child to new vocabulary all year long! This increased information can lead to advanced spelling abilities, which is another skill essential to academic achievement. In combination with advanced vocabulary and spelling abilities, here are some additional benefits to reading:
- Increased concentration
- Increased comprehension skills
- Increased inferencing skills
- Increased phonological skills
- Greater imagination skills
- Advanced empathy skills
- Increased cognitive ability
Reading positively influences cognitive ability
A common misconception is that cognitive ability is predetermined, but this is not true. Research has shown that reading promotes brain development and increases cognitive ability, leading to greater academic success and the possibility of acquiring a higher education.
So, what can you do to influence your child’s love of reading, and boost all of the above skills? You can piece together your own reading routines from some of the ideas and strategies below.
More than words on a page
Reading is more than sounding out the words on a page. It is an educational escape to a reality outside of one’s own world. Reading fosters the ability to interact with a new emotion, a new perspective, and may even spark new curiosity. So how can you help enhance your child’s experience of reading?
Ask your child questions related to the text while they read. Have your child view the perspective of a character by asking things such as:
- “What would you do in this situation?”
- “How do you think that person feels?”
- “How do you feel?”
- “What do you think will happen next?”
- Asking these questions will increase your child’s comprehension of the text.
Make reading fun
Below are some ideas to spark your child’s creative side and make reading fun and interactive:
- Act out characters in pretend play
- Draw or paint pictures from a story
- Take the plot of a story and ask your child to create a different ending
- Ask your child to help you bake their favourite treat while you read the recipe together
Reading in all forms
Some of you may be wondering how you can afford the time and effort to find all of these wonderful, engaging, educational books. Look around, we are surrounded by words all day long! Follow your child’s lead, whatever their interests are, fuel their curiosity with words in all forms. Listed are just a few of the resources you can use to encourage your child to read during the summer months:
- Paper books
- Electronic books
- Kids magazines
- Comic books
- Street signs and advertisements
- Cereal boxes with games
I hope I have spurred some of you into action, and you’re now planning what to do with the next piece of reading material you child happens to pass by. It is up to you, as a parent or caregiver, to influence and nourish your child’s reading habits. Explore the words, make it fun, and enjoy watching your child develop all of his or her fantastic reading skills.
By: Renee Timmermans
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