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Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

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Literacy Center of West Michigan Family Literacy Coordinator Shay Kraley shares tips on how to make your child become a better reader.

/ Arvind Balaraman

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Reading Together Helps

Studies show that families who read together can help children significantly boost their vocabulary and school performance.  By the age of four, a child of a low literate parent will have heard 32 million fewer words than a child of a literate parent.

Literacy Center of West Michigan family literacy coordinator Shay Kraley provides complimentary tutoring, workshops and events designed to assist parents and caregivers in becoming better readers for themselves as well as their families.

This Family Literacy Program is free and available to any parent/caregiver of a child enrolled in participating Kent County Head Start programs. Parents/caregivers are provided with weekly tutoring for two hours. Tutoring sessions can take place throughout the day in public locations, such as libraries, churches and office buildings.

At a recent workshop, Shay shared the following tips with parents on how to help their children become better readers:
Things to do while you read:
1. As you say the words, slide your finger under each word. If you can’t read the words, you can make the story up!
2. Have your child turn the pages—with each page, talk about the words and pictures, ask questions, have your child make more guesses.
3. Show excitement as you read—make funny voices, funny faces, etc.
Things to do after you read:
1. Talk about the book: were your child’s guesses right? Were there any surprises? Does this book remind your child of anything else? What will happen with characters now?
2. Re-read book.
Other things to do in the home:
1. Talk with your children: ask them how their day was, talk about your feelings, describe what you do around the house (cook, clean, etc.)
2. Let your children see you reading: a bus schedule, the newspaper, a magazine, the mail
3. Let your children see you writing: a check, a grocery list, a letter, an e-mail

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