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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!

How to Improve Your Child’s Vocabulary

Did you know that if you read to your child for 20 minutes every day, they will hear 1.8 million words per year? Just a small investment of time each day can improve their vocabulary drastically. As they start learning how to read on their own, you can actively help them build, maintain, and strengthen their vocabulary. Here are a few tips and tricks:

Spoiler alert! If you’re reading a book with your child, don’t hesitate to take a look at the pictures first. Books for early readers deliberately pair pictures with text that will help kids better understand the story. Before you start reading, talk through what the story might be about and discuss any relevant terms. If the book is about a trip to the beach, talk about the animals that live there and the activities that people do there. This will help your child better understand the story as they read, and it will also improve their vocabulary, with words that may not be in the story.

Choose books that will get them excited about reading. School-aged kids may feel like they have work in their life. Reading with you shouldn’t feel like a chore. Make it a fun and interactive experience for them, and it will be something that you both look forward to. One of the benefits of I Can Read books is that there are so many to choose from! There are plenty of stories about classic and new characters whom children love. If you’ve read The Berenstain Bears or Fancy Nancy to them, they’ll be excited to have a chance to read about them to you! Some of our favorite new picks include Pete the Cat’s Trip to the Supermarket, Pinkalicious: Fishtastic, and Amelia Bedelia Under the Weather.

Make sure the books they read are at an appropriate level. Early reading can be a confidence booster, but it can also be frustrating. Choosing books that are the right level is key in helping your child understand the plot and the vocabulary in a story. You can see a breakdown of I Can Read levels here. Another trick is to ask your child to read one page of a book. If they struggle with five words on the page, the book may be too difficult.

Talk about tricky words. If your child stumbles on a word, take a minute to talk about the word and ask him or her if it made sense. Have them finish the page, and then go back and read it again. It can sometimes be helpful to think of words that rhyme with the one that tripped them up. For example, words like “could” can be tricky. Encourage your child to brainstorm some words that rhyme, like “should” or “would”. This can help them recognize words with the sound later, and even introduce them to new words.

Click here for more great tips for beginning readers.