Tips for getting kids to read, according to a Speech Pathologist

Tips for getting kids to read, according to a Speech Pathologist

We all know that getting kids to read is important, but sometimes it can be tricky to keep them engaged. As well as helping with early literacy skills for the development of reading and spelling, reading is also important later on in life, when the child will need to read to learn new information and understand signs and text in the community.

As a parent, one of the best ways to encourage a love of reading in your child is to do it together. Getting kids to read to you will:

  • Facilitate parent and child interaction and attachment
  • Support a child’s vocabulary growth
  • Teach children grammar and how to put words together to make sentences
  • Give the child an opportunity to learn
  • Build their critical thinking skills
  • Build their listening and attention skills
  • Support their understanding of what words and pictures mean, and
  • Stimulate a child’s imagination

Tips for getting kids to read in the home

Building reading time into your routine at home will help foster a love of reading. For example,reading a bedtime story before bed or as soon as your child wakes up will mean that they will come to expect – and even look forward to – reading time. Getting siblings involved for a group reading activity is also a great way to make reading fun.

When it comes to keeping your child engaged during reading, here are a few techniques to try:

  • Hold up two books and ask your child which one they would like to read
  • Signal the start of reading time by saying, “let’s read, open book.”
  • Point to the words on the page as you read them aloud. You don’t always l need to read the book exactly as it’s written, you can make up your own story or just talk about the pictures.
  • Stop and talk about the story on each page. Talk about what you see, the actions, characters, feelings, shapes and colours. Use sounds as well as words e.g. animal noises, laughs, cries and sirens.
  • With older kids, talk about what they think might happen next or if they like to do what’s happening in the book. For example, if a character is swimming you could ask “do you like swimming?”
  • Use exaggerated voices and rhythm to your voice along with facial expressions to match what’s happening. For example, you could try looking surprised and gasping as you say “what’s going to happen next?!”
  • Link what is happening in the book to the real world around the child. For example, if there is a dog in the book you can say “it’s a dog like [say your pet dogs name].”
  • Ask your child what they can see.
  • Ask your child to find different things on the page and help them through e.g. “can you find the fish?… here it is!”. Remember, this is not a test: it’s supposed to be fun and engaging.
  • Get your child to turn the page to keep them involved.
  • Once your child seems engaged and wanting to turn the page, prompt them to ask you to turn the page e.g. “you can say ‘turn’… good, turn the page.”
  • Finish the book by saying say “all finished.”

Remember, getting kids to read can sometimes prove difficult. If you’re having prolonged trouble with reading, speak to your speech pathologist or Lizard team about how you can introduce books into your child’s routine.

Author: Johanna Sciancalepore (CPSP., MSLP., BSHS.) 2018.