1. Read me a story! Whether snuggled under the covers with peanut-butter sandwiches, or following along with a book on tape while on a road trip, reading together is a powerful tool in motivating your child to read.
2. Keep it fun, for everyone. Keep your kids involved by asking questions about the story, and let them fill in the blanks. You can also create activities related to the stories you’re reading.
3. “Look at what I did!” Keeping a chart or graph that illustrates the number of books a child has read can bring a sense of accomplishment.
4. Create a writing toolbox. Fill a box with drawing and writing materials. Find opportunities for your child to write, such as the shopping list, thank you notes, or birthday cards.
5. Be your child’s #1 fan. Ask your child to read aloud what he or she has written for school. Be an enthusiastic listener.
6. One more time with feeling. When your child has sounded out an unfamiliar word, have him or her reread that sentence. Often kids are so busy figuring out a word they lose the meaning of what they’ve just read.
7. Do storytelling on the go. Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in a car or bus. Try making the story funny or maybe spooky.
8. Point out the relationship between words. Explain how related words have similar spelling and meanings. Show how a word like knowledge relates to a word like know.
9. Tell family tales. Children love to hear stories about their families. Talk about a funny thing that happened to you when you were young.
10. Quick! Quick! Use new words your child has learned in lively flashcards or computer drills. This can help kids automatically recognize and read words, especially those that are used frequently.
11. Spice up your reading log. Choose a theme that goes along with your child’s interests, for example: a Reading Olympics, where the child “goes for the gold” by reading a certain number of books.
12. “I want that one!” Reading should be a choice, not a chore. Make sure there are a variety of books, magazines, and other materials available for your child to choose from.
13. Something to talk about. Reading doesn’t have to stop when you put the book down. Talk to your child about books you’ve read and books you think he or she might enjoy.
14. Write a fan letter. If your child has a favorite author, help your child write a letter to send to the publisher, who’ll send it along.