Research shows that when families read together, learning happens and memories are made that last a lifetime. Try these simple ideas that parents can use to help their children become better readers.
Make Reading Fun
You can reinforce reading skills whenever you play a game by helping your child sound out new words. Writing words in sand or on a plate of sugar. Practicing spelling words while jumping rope or swirling a hula hoop. Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in a car or bus. Invite friends over to host a book club for kids -- or play karaoke using favorite music lyrics. Let your kids be cooks for a day. Have them find recipes they’d like to try, shop with them to get the ingredients and then help them prepare the family meal!
Use PTA’s Family Reading Experience activities at home. Download these fun activities to reinforce the domains of reading with your children.
- Consonant Toss Grades K-2: Toss tokens on a game board to practice saying words with consonants and deepen students’ understanding about phonics or the relationship between sounds and letters so that they may better decode and read words.
- On Safari Game Grades K-2: Reinforce reading skills at home using this daily reading activity gameboard.
- Definition Expedition Grades K-5: Learn how technology, such as an e-reader, can help to improve vocabulary. Picture the Character Grades K-5: Demonstrate comprehension by drawing and labeling a picture of your favorite character from a book.
- Punctuation Toss Grades K-5: Toss tokens onto a punctuation game board to practice fluency, or the ability to read text quickly, accurately and with proper expression.
Share the love of reading with your family. Role modeling is important, but so is creating the time and space for reading together. In addition to reading with your child, create a space in your home that you read together. Try to etch out time for one short book – one chapter. Give books as gifts that you plan to read together. Talk about each book, what you like and don’t like about its characters, and take guesses on what will happen next. Even when your kids are older, enjoying a conversation about a good book is something they’ll never outgrow. Take reading on the road. Reading isn’t just an at-home activity. Kids take pride in their first library card and are excited by the opportunity to choose any book they like. Most libraries hold weekly or monthly events for free. In addition, show kids that taking a book to a beautiful place – like a beach or a park – is a great way to relax and soak in new knowledge.
Transform reading into writing. The best writers are avid readers. Encourage your kids to stretch their imaginations and write stories based on the experiences of favorite characters from other books, movies or TV shows. Or create a family history book that documents favorite memories. Give a journal each year for your child’s birthday to record their thoughts in the year ahead.
Get help if you need it. Reading isn’t easy to learn and every child is different. Talk with your teachers about your child’s reading levels. Ask about what you can do to support reading at home. Make sure your child’s eyes and ears are tested regularly.
Get more inspiration from families like yours. Watch our inspirational videos and visit our #FamiliesRead page to access tips from other families.
Other Reading Resources
National PTA recommends the resources developed by the organizations listed below.
Common Sense Media helps parents make smart media choices for their families. Whether your kids’ summer days are jam-packed with activities, left wide-open for leisurely exploration, or are something in between, chances are some of those days will involve a smartphone, tablet, or other device. Now more than ever, you and your kids can harness the power of technology to enhance the activities that kids are already doing — or to help create brand-new experiences.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, is a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to enrolled patrons. People may be eligible for the program if they are blind, have a visual disability that prevents them from reading regular print, or have a physical disability that keeps them from being able to hold a book.
Get ready to go places with PBS KIDS this summer. From reading to geography, summer learning can take kids anywhere! Starting in June, families can share fun “any time” learning moments on their favorite PBS shows, daily tips, learning apps and community events in partnership with local PBS stations.
Reading is Fundamental (RIF) offers an array of summer reading resources for families including tips and activities. RIF also offers suggested book lists for children of all ages. Explore the world and its many cultures using RIF’s STEAM-themed collection of books that incorporates at least one science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics theme while emphasizing multiculturalism and diversity in content and character development.
Reading Rockets’ Start with a Book initiative features 24 kid-friendly themes to introduce young readers and their families to great fiction and nonfiction books, along with hands-on activities that support reading, writing and critical thinking skills and links to other great websites and apps with related content.