We all know that reading is an essential skill that is necessary for any kind of academic success, and the more students read, the more likely they are to be good readers. What are some key tips to ensure that your child will be a ravenous reader?

Choice

The teachers at my daughters’ school always say that students should be surrounded by an “avalanche of books”! Research shows that the more books in a household is directly related to a child’s ability to read. Classrooms should be filled with a wide variety if books as well. Having more books gives students choice and allows then to find great books they can get passionate about.

Read TO your Kids (even your teen!)

Children LOVE to be read to. Reading allows them access to books they might not choose themselves; either because they are from unfamiliar genres or the vocabulary is beyond their reading level. Reading more complex texts exposes them to more vocabulary. And, according to Jim Trelease, the author of the respected, Read-Aloud Handbook, “Children who are spoken to and read to most often are the ones with the largest vocabularies.” He goes on to explain that children will not use new words unless they’ve heard them first. Reading challenging texts allows children to hear academic words they are less likely to hear in regular conversation. Then they are more likely to try using them in their own conversations and writing. (Read more here and here.)

Read Along w/ Your Kids

If your child is interested in a specific book, ask to borrow it. I know, I know, Captain Underpants might not be the first one on your list. Nonetheless, it shows that you are interested in what interests them. It also allows you to have some great conversation about books. Reading the same books as your older child or teen is a great way to connect when kids are less likely to initiate conversations about their life. And, take it from me… (an experienced MS and HS teacher) discussion the ways in which characters handle various situations is a great way to about “hot topics” without coming off as nosey or preachy. See my list of recommended books here.

What are your favorite books to share with your kids? What other ways do you foster a love of reading?

Related Reads: Great Books to Read to Your Older Child or TweenGreat Books to Read to Your “Big Kids”

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About alimcollins

Ali Collins is an educator, community organizer and mom. She lives with her husband and twin girls in San Francisco, CA.

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