Five tips to help you improve your child's reading skills


Hit the books: You know you want your child to start reading early, but what if he or she just doesn't seem to be interested in picking up a book? Staff members of the Manchester Community Library in Manchester, Vt., offer these additional tips to help get your child started on the right path to reading.

1 Don't be afraid to ask your local experts for help: Members of the library suggest going right to the source — your neighborhood or school librarians! Ask your child's teacher or librarian what other kids are reading. What' popular? What are other kids getting excited about on the bookshelves? These recommendations might be just the book to peak your little reader's interest.

2 Be careful what books you pick: Staff at the Manchester Community Library say graphic novels can often be a gateway to a struggling reader because there is more pictures than text. Instead, consider giving your budding reader a series they can follow along. Early Reader series like the "Magic Tree House," "Captain Underpants," "Junie B. Jones," and "Berenstain Bears" are recommended reads.

3 Pick reading topics your children are interested in: Consider non-fiction books about a topic of interest they may have outside of regular classroom work. Library staff members recommend this for all readers, but especially boys who may connect better with non-fiction topics. Baseball, sharks, space, snakes and sports can get a child hooked, perhaps paving the way to fiction and a love of reading.

4 Make the words come to life — literally: Connecting reading to real-life is a tactic the community library is exploring with the local public school with an identified group of reluctant readers. Families can do this at home, too. Read a book, then take a connected field trip about the book. Do something related to the book. For example, read a book about cars, and visit a local garage, or build a model car.

5 Don't compare your child's reading level or interest to others: There will always be a popular series of books for every age group. Don't force-feed the "right" books. Meet your children where they are as developing readers — even reading below where "experts" think they should be. Reading an easy book may be just what is needed to gain momentum, according to library staff members.


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