Country Life Blog

How We Help Your Child Love Reading

Learning to read is not easy for all children. Difficulty reading is a real struggle that affects more than 20% of our population. But even children with reading difficulties can still love to read. It may be tiresome to get them to practice their reading at night after a day at school. They are exerting so much extra effort. For them as well as for children too young to read independently, spending time with books can still create the joy we want for them. Getting our youngest children to identify themselves as readers can be done through looking at picture books. “Reading the pictures” is a pre-reading skill that indicates children are on their way to reading success. Telling the story by looking at pictures and/or being read to are both options that can happen in those before bedtime hours for all children. 
As the Reading Specialist at The Country School, I am focused on creating lifelong readers. Over the years, I have found that these five simple strategies work wonders with my students and their families.

List of 5 items.

  • Let Children Select Books of Interest.

    Allowing children the opportunity to select books that match their interests is critical in motivation.  In an article from Educational Leadership, “Becoming A Classroom of Readers,” we learn the importance of giving students time, choice, variety and guidance in their reading life. At The Country School our commitment to these structures has allowed us to witness the “groans” from around the room when told to find a stopping point.
  • Read. Then Read Some More.

    At The Country School we know that the five best ways for children to become better readers are to read, read, read, read, and read. Practice makes better–this is true for reading too. Children need time to read every day and every night.  When children spend time reading, they build their skills and make more progress than those who do not engage in any nightly reading activities.
  • Model a Reader's Life.

    We encourage adults to set a good example for their children. Making reading part of everyday life models its importance and encourages children to want to do the same. In the classrooms teachers talk about reading. They narrate their thoughts about books they have recently read or about a favorite book they read when they were younger. We want our children to see the adults in their world reading–be it for work, parenting, or pleasure.
  • Read to Children of All Ages.

    Research proves that reading to children as early as during pregnancy is strongly linked to reading success. As children get older, reading aloud is a critical means of building comprehension skills and vocabulary.  Engaging children in book discussions at any age not only helps develop their oral language skills, but it also builds their ability to talk about books, another life skill.
  • Read a Variety of Materials.

    Growing as readers also means experiencing different kinds of reading. It is important for children to practice reading different genres. Commonly, readers have favorites, but we encourage them to break out of their reading comfort zones. Not only might they discover they actually enjoy the variety, but these experiences help increase their vocabulary and provide them with a broader understanding of our world. At The Country School teachers balance independent reading selections with exposure to different types of books so children can increase their skills and discover their passions.
Take time to help your children fall in love with books and reading. Help them find that one book, one author, or one series that captures them, hooks them, and launches them into their reading life. And remember to take time yourself to get lost in a book. You won’t regret it!
Jennifer Hornyak, is a former classroom teacher, current Reading Specialist at The Country School, Professor of Graduate Studies at Fairfield University, and mother of three Country School graduates.
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341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
P. 203-421-3113  |  F. 203-421-4390  |  Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.