Reading Tips For Parents & Educators

Find expert reading strategies and useful tips to help introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Learn to Read

Learning to read is hard work! Kids can easily become frustrated or impatient when they’re first starting out. We’ve highlighted five things you can do at home to support skill development in your early reader and help them learn to read in an organic way:

1. Read every day.

Studies show that children who are read to every day have the opportunity to develop a more robust vocabulary, learn empathy, and increase intelligence. Carving out as little as 20 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Make it a part of your daily routine and allow them to just enjoy listening to a story. For regular shipments of I Can Read! books perfect for shared reading, try the I Can Read! Book Club, and get two books free!

2. Practice sight words.

As children hone their pre-literacy skills, such as letter recognition and associating sound with letters, memorizing a few sight words can be instrumental in their success. Choose a couple of sight words to start with, and practice sounding them out. You can see a list of popular and grade appropriate sight words here. You may want to make word flash cards with your child or simply pause in your reading after practicing the word to allow them to “read” a word on their own.

3. Rhyme time.

Rhyming is incredibly beneficial for kids who are on the cusp of reading. Among other things, it encourages speech development, reading comprehension, and enhances creativity. Read or recite nursery rhymes with your child or practice sound recognition and work with them to think of words that rhyme. It’s an easy game to play with them when you are on the go or relaxing at home. 

4. Let them see you reading.

Children aspire to what they see. If they see you prioritizing reading and books in your own life, they’ll want to follow suit. Make books visible wherever you are. If you are going to a class or practice for a sibling, bring a wordless picture book to occupy your younger child, and while you’re at it, bring a book for yourself.

5. Find just right books for them.

Leveled readers are essential for young readers. One way that you can avoid frustrations is to choose books that are right for them. We suggest following the Five Finger Rule to help. Have your child open up a book and read just the first page. If they know every word on the page, the book may be too easy for them. If they struggle with four or five words on the page, it may be too difficult. Look for the sweet spot and find a book where they need help with just two to three words on the first page. The Five Finger rule is also easy for kids to understand and can help guide them when they are reading independently.

How do you keep your kids inspired by and engaged with literacy? We’d love to know!

Reading Tips For Parents & Educators

Find expert reading strategies and useful tips to help introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

8 Ways to Refresh Your Child’s Reading Routine

Fall into new habits and get creative with your reading routine.

There’s a lot of buzz around the importance of incorporating reading into your child’s daily routine. Reading for at least 20 minutes each day has many benefits for skill development. However, story time shouldn’t feel like something you need to check off your “to-do” list. Here are eight ways to breathe new life into your child’s reading routine and inspire healthy reading habits in the process:

1. Create a reading nook.

Do you have a favorite place to read? Maybe your child likes to read in their bed. Switch things up and try building a fort, or creating a cozy corner filled with books, pillows, and stuffed animals. Need some more inspiration? Check out the hashtag #readingnook on Instagram.

2. Read at a different time of day.

A lot can be said for reading habits, but don’t feel as though you have to stick to reading at the same time every day. See if you can squeeze in a story right when your child wakes up, before nap time, or after school. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can always have them read to you while you make dinner, or try putting on an eBook to listen to together.

3. Talk about books over shared meals.

Talking about the books you’re reading can be just as important as actually reading them! Think about ways to bring up themes from a book you are reading while the whole family is together. This way, reading is incorporated into daily conversations that go beyond your designated reading routine. 

4. Go on a book-themed outing.

Think outside the book and plan a field trip or weekend activity based on something you’ve read. Read Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia and take a trip to a local baseball game, or, read a book about Baby Shark and head to a local beach or aquarium. (Don’t worry, you can take all the credit!)

5. Get cooking! Make a meal from a children’s book.

Some of our favorite books incorporate food. Fancy Nancy, for example, loves tea parties. You could make cookies or finger sandwiches with your child and have a tea party when you finish a book. You could also find a story that features a character in another country or location. Research local foods where the character is from and have a dinner or dessert that the character might enjoy!

6. Create a children’s book club. (Bonus: dress up in character!)

Choosing activities for your child can be daunting because the options are seemingly endless. Why not make one of those activities related to reading? Gather a small group of friends and have them all read the same book, or different books about the same character. Suggest they choose their favorite scene and meet to discuss and play. Hint hint: The I Can Read! Book Club introduces kids to new character friends each month!

7. Attend a story hour.

Local libraries and bookstores can be a great resource to help develop a reading routine. Many of them have free story hours on a weekly basis! Grab your child and go whenever it suits you, whether it’s after school or during the weekends.

8. Carry a book with you.

Entertaining kids during downtime can be tricky. Have a book for them on hand so you can read if you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or for a sibling to finish a swim lesson. Don’t forget your book either! When your child sees you reading, they’ll catch on that it’s a cool thing to do. I Can Read! paperback books are a great option to carry around in your bag because they’re lightweight and portable.

Reading Tips For Parents & Educators

Find expert reading strategies and useful tips to help introduce children to the wonderful world of reading on their own with I Can Read!

Story Time Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension

To help your child become a confident and well-rounded reader, it’s important to improve reading comprehension early on. According to multiple studies, reading encourages brain development in young children, expanding their capacity for creativity, helping them develop empathy, and advancing their vocabulary. It’s a useful habit to develop in kids, which, if properly encouraged, will stay with them as they grow older! 

For your child to reap these benefits, they need to fully comprehend what they read. Follow these story time tips to improve reading comprehension and inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Choose interesting material.

The first step to boosting your child’s reading comprehension is to ensure that they find the material interesting. This way, you’re able to hold their attention and keep them focused on the subject matter. Discover what your child’s interests are and find books that explore the subject or related areas. If your child loves animals, you can buy them books about dogs, cats, and other exciting creatures. Your child will remain engaged as you read these stories together. 

Use age-appropriate text.

A child’s brain develops with age. The same way you wouldn’t buy kids clothes that are too big or too small, you shouldn’t buy them books outside a certain difficulty level. Advanced material can overwhelm early readers and impede their comprehension. They won’t be able to fully grasp the concepts outlined in the text, even though they’re interested in the subject matter. On the other hand, material below their reading level will not be stimulating and as a result, will leave kids feeling bored and uninterested.

Age-appropriate material will contain concepts that they’re familiar with and words that they can define and pronounce. It’s a good thing to introduce your children to complex words and concepts, but you need to do so gradually as their ability to understand what they’re reading improves.

There’s a lot of age-appropriate reading material for kids available. Start there and build your way up to improve reading comprehension over time. That’s how brilliant kids are formed!

Employ visual cues.

Children are visual creatures who learn from what they see. It also helps when they read, which explains why picture books are great for beginner readers. Describe what’s going on in the book as vividly as you can. You can improvise with colors and props as well as other sensory cues like sounds, smells, and sensations to keep your child’s mind fully engaged. 

Invite the child to form their own visual description of the setting and plot to be sure that they fully understand the text. It’s a fun yet instructive way to improve reading comprehension in younger children that not only works for fictional stories but nonfictional ones as well.

Pause and ask questions.

Before each reading session, take some time to set goals by asking your child a few questions such as: Why do you want to read this book? What do you hope to learn? What do you hope to discover?

While reading with your child, take a pause every few minutes or so to ask them what they’ve learned so far. This is a great way to determine if your child is following or not. It also gives them an opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the text, which will help improve reading comprehension overall.

Read the material multiple times.

Re-reading can help clarify any confusing portions of the text. In addition, it helps your child build fluency — the ability to read articulately, smoothly, and effortlessly. It’s also great pronunciation practice. Perfecting fluency and pronunciation will inspire confidence in your child, which can go a long way toward making them lifelong readers.

Children love to re-read books they enjoy purely for entertainment reasons. Nevertheless, it’s key in familiarizing them with every aspect of the book and exploring the different concepts it presents. Think about how you, as an adult, gain a new insight each time you read your favorite book or study material. Children will also reap the same benefits from re-reading any book they love.

Make real-life connections.

A great test of whether your child understands what they’re reading is their ability to make real-life connections. If your child is reading a book that deals with issues such as overcoming a fear or making new friends, it can help to connect those stories to a time when your child had a similar experience. 

Introduce your child to the concepts they’re reading about as a way to improve reading comprehension. A good way to do this is by organizing field trips! If they’re reading about certain animals, take them to the zoo. If their book is about a certain sport, sign them up for a few classes. Physically engaging with the topics they read about will enhance their ability to grasp difficult concepts.

Furthermore, making these real-life connections will build empathy in your child. They may not be able to relate directly to a situation, but if they come across a concept in a book and understand it, they will be able to empathize with a friend or classmate who is experiencing the same thing.

Practice unlocking clues.

Much of improving how children understand what they’re reading involves practicing — new words, reading aloud, etc. Unlocking clues is another concept you need to introduce. Clues in books help you infer what a character is feeling. The text won’t always describe these emotions directly, so you’ll have to discover the clues and explain them to your kid. For instance, “reddened cheeks” describe embarrassment, while “widened eyes” can indicate surprise or shock. 

When you find such clues in a book, pause and ask your child what they think it means. This tip will not only improve reading comprehension but also help them recognize visual cues and body language in real life.

Utilizing these techniques will increase your child’s appetite for reading and learning. Share what has worked for you in the comment section below and help other kids on their way to becoming better readers!