You are the best person to improve reading skills in your children. There's nothing like the trust and bond that exists between you and your children, and both are necessary ingredients for encouraging them to try, even if it means they may fail at first. Follow these steps to help your children become better readers:
Step 1: Start by Reading More Yourself
Your children will catch the "reading bug" if they see the love you have for reading. Watching you go through books intensely will have more influence in fostering their love for reading, than telling them to read. You don't have to read fiction books. If you prefer reading non-fiction books, then by all means, read those. You want them to develop a passion for reading, because when they read more, they'll improve their reading skills.
Step 2: Read to Your Children Twice or More a Day
The greatest opportunity you have to improve reading skills in your children is while reading to them. This includes reading to older children. They will pay attention to your voice inflections, word annunciations, and your older children may interrupt to ask questions about the text or for definition of words. That's your cue to teach reading comprehension, inference and vocabulary. You can gather all your children to together and read to them out loud, but it's also good to schedule one-on-one time with children that are having reading difficulties.
Step 3: Ask Children to Narrate Passages
When working with a child one-on-one, ask her to narrate the passage back to you. What you're asking her to do is to summarize the passage using her own words. Narration has been proven to improve reading skills in children. Demonstrate this to them when your first teach them this skill. You can also modify narration for each child depending on their skills, age and ability, by asking them to write a summary or draw a picture.
Step 4: Give them Books that Interest Them
Engaging your children in intellectual stimulating reading is not your initial goal when you're working to improve reading skills. Your goal is to first teach them to read, and foster a passion for reading. If your six year old can't get enough of "Biscuit," or some other book series for children, then don't be in a rush to push them away from it. Use their passion for an author or book to help them become better readers, and then place other books on the coffee table or book shelf to get them to broaden their interests.
Step 5: Use Reading Software
Your child may be more interested in a computer program than physical books. Don't be afraid to install good educational software that's geared to teaching children to read. You can also use free software applications online, such as Starfalls.com. When your child is allowed to use software, they can improve their reading and computer skills at the same time. Some programs also generate reports for you to track their improvements. You should sit with them though in most cases, to see in real time what their struggles and success are.
Improving reading skills in your children doesn't happen overnight. It's a journey, but don't give up. Your children will be grateful for your efforts.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.