The first step in becoming a better reader is learning to read. This includes learning the alphabet, decoding words phonetically, and building vocabulary. Over time children put this foundation to work as they read to learn and grasp concepts. This brings a child to utilize the skill of reading comprehension, which is currently emphasized in schools.
The current school curriculum is emphasizing reading, specifically reading comprehension versus attaining general knowledge. And yet, despite the enormous expenditure of time and resources on reading, American children haven’t become better readers.1 For the past 20 years, only about a third of students have scored at or above the “proficient” level on national tests.
Also, the school-free summer months can bring on learning losses of one to two months in reading compared to the previous year. So what can you do???
Begin early. Read aloud to your infant as part of a daily routine. As your child gets older, you can begin to engage and ask questions and talk about the story. Once your child begins to read, have her read aloud to you.
Role model. Read! Check out books from the library. Show an interest in reading and your child may develop the same interest. Read articles, books, recipes, etc. that role model that you read as well.
Make appropriate materials easily accessible to encourage reading. Have magazines, newspapers, and articles available that engage your child’s interest. Through proper adult supervision and controlling filters, you can even find interesting reading on the internet.
Find help if necessary. Most children can learn to read, even if some do need a little more assistance. Solicit help from teachers or professionals to determine if your child has a learning disability or other problem that needs extra support.
With your support and encouragement, your child will begin a lifelong journey of reading.
Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years, Natalie Wexler, The Atlantic, April 13, 2018