The Most Important Piece of Advice for Raising a Confident Reader

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Two New York Times writers came up with a lengthy guide for parents on how to raise kids to become self-assured readers, young people who actually enjoy reading. There are a lot of them, but they’re all fantastic tips, so we’re going to include a few of them here.

One of the most important things is to start early. Get your child’s senses involved and be sure to use fun voices when the story calls for them! Mix up your reading material so you’re introducing your child to not only your own tastes but also a variety of characters and lessons. If you have a child who isn’t super keen on learning to read, it’s also key to let them pick their own book, even if it’s a comic book or some other “alternative” form of reading material.

These tips, of course, are important. However, if you’re a parent, we know you’re busy, and you may not have time to wade through all of them to find the ones that are most important to your family and your kids. So we’ve picked what we believe is the most important rule to raise confident readers. And that is to read out loud with them.

Photo: YouTube/PBS Parents

Photo: YouTube/PBS Parents

It’s pretty easy to do, and you only need 10 to 20 minutes per day to do it. Let your children pick out their own story and let them stay up a few minutes later than normal to reinforce the idea that reading in your spare time is a treat and something to look forward to.

If you have a child who already knows how to read, he or she can read to younger siblings, as well. The older sibling gains confidence and gets practice, while the younger sibling looks up to the older one and learns that reading is something kids can do, too—not just adults.

Photo: YouTube/PBS Parents

Photo: YouTube/PBS Parents

Find out more about how your child will benefit in more ways than you think in the video below! Hint: it isn’t just their language skills that are going to benefit!

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?