Reading Tips for Parents

    • Play with letters, words, and sounds with very young children. Use sounds, songs, gestures, and words that rhyme to build language and language use. Have fun with language! 
    • Provide your child with a lot of opportunities to read aloud. 
    • As your child reads, point out spelling and sound patterns such as “cat, pat, hat.”
    • Find ways to read, write, and tell stories with your child. Read about it, then talk about it! Find ways for your child to build understanding, the ultimate goal of reading. 
    • Point out printed words in your home and other places you take your child.
    • Have younger children read aloud to you every night (even comic books are okay), and read aloud to your child, in English or the language spoken at home
    • Choose a quiet place, free from distractions, for your child to do nightly reading.
    • Have your child read in ordinary places (in the car, reading recipes, in the supermarket, at breakfast, at bedtime—even in the bathtub!)
    • Letting your child see you read will spark his interest.
    • Ask your child questions about the characters and events in a story. Ask why she thinks a character acted in a certain way. Ask her to support the answer given with information from the story. Before getting to the end of a story, ask what she thinks will happen next and why.
    • Take your child to the library or bookstore as often as you can. Help him apply for a Boston Public Library card—it’s free! 
    • Encourage your child to read a wide variety of books and online materials that introduce experiences and opportunities for your child might be thinking about.
    • Ask your child about a movie or show she has seen, and find a book on that topic. 
    • Encourage your child to write emails, text, use Twitter, Instagram, and create blogs based on their interests.

    Why should I read to my child?

    Children love it when their parent, an older child, or another adult reads to them—and it is an important activity to help children develop a love of reading. 

    My child can read books on their own. Should I still read to them?

    Yes! Even adults like being read to. Children can understand and enjoy books that are read to them that are too difficult for them to read on their own. 

    How do I know if the books I choose for my child are too hard?

    The books that children read independently should be easy, so they don’t become frustrated. If they succeed with easier books, they will want to read more. Consider your child’s interests in selecting books. Select books that are culturally and linguistically diverse.

    What should my child read?

    Children should read many kinds of texts: fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, biographies, nursery rhymes, feature articles, memoirs, and poetry—schedule regular trips to the library. Librarians are excellent resources to help your children find books that they will love.