5 Ways to Help Your Child Become a Better Reader

Oh, the joy of reading! For any kid learning to read, there is magic in the written words. There's the adventure of being onboard a pirate ship sailing in unknown seas, the magic of riding a rainbow unicorn or the delight of meeting new friends in enchanted forests. But for some kids still learning to read, it can sometimes feel like being asked to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider backwards—ridiculously difficult!

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Now that the little one is in pre-school, she's learning a new appreciation for books as she's able to read her favorite bedtime stories mostly on her own. It's exciting to see her lit up with joy after conquering a new or big word. Today, for instance, while reading I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney (published by zonderkidz), a new book we received in the mail, the little one discovered the words "beyond compare." These are big words for any six-year-old, so there was imaginary confetti and much jumping for joy after she sounded it out and successfully read them.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are days when she gets frustrated or when I find myself running out of patience. But there are ways to help support your child so they may become better at reading, and here are five mommy-tested tips to try: 

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Mommy-Tested Tip #1: Find age-appropriate books.

There's nothing more frustrating than to be told to read a book that is too challenging. Letting your child read a book that does not match his or her reading level is setting your child up to feelings of failure and discouragement. As parents, it is our responsibility to support our kids in this learning process, and that starts with guiding them in finding the right books to read. To do this, use the 5 Finger Test

Mommy-Tested Tip #2: Let your kid choose his or her own books.

When you have identified the right books for your kids, encourage them to choose the ones they really love to read. Before we received I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug, the little one has first seen this book at a local bookstore and completely fell in love with the beautiful illustrations by Tim Warnes. She loves the whimsical rhyme which helps her pay closer attention to letters as she discovers that similar spellings tend to have similar sounds. "Tight looks like night, except it starts with T!" she was quick to point out.  

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The book has also helped her spot the "sight words" she has learned in school. "We just learned the word 'that' in school today!" she reported to me, after spotting it in the book. Several times while reading, she giggled at the pig with curly tail giving her a big, big, BIG hug or gasped in awe at the thought of a giant whale hug! 

The book is a delight to read and the idea of fun animals giving her a snuggly hug makes for a great bedtime reading.

Mommy-Tested Tip #3: Create an awesome reading nook.

Creating a cozy reading nook inspires the little one to go on a corner and get lost in her books. Set the mood for fun by throwing in a lovely rug (we got our polka dot rug at IKEA), pillows and stuffed toy friends. On this particular day, the little one enjoyed reading a story to Peanut, her Lalaloopsy friend.

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Mommy-Tested Tip #4: Make it a habit to visit a local library.

The library is one of my happy places as a child. I love the idea of being surrounded by books and being able to freely pick any story I want. To share this childhood memory with the little one, we make it a point to bring her to a local library at least once a month and let her read books or check out the ones she wants to bring with her home.

Mommy-Tested Tip #5:  Have a reading routine.

Although most parents prefer to read before bedtime, I find it more helpful to read with the little one early, such as while doing her school assignment. It helps her to easily recall her "sight words" as they are still fresh on her mind and ensures we don't rush at night as she needs to get to bed early to get her full night's sleep.

What has been some of your mommy-tested ways to help and support your little reader? Let's exchange ideas in the comment box below.

GIVEAWAY! When you comment below, you will be automatically entered in a giveaway drawing to win a copy of I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney. It will make a lovely surprise for your little one!

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Disclosure: I received the book I'm Going to Give You a Bear Hug! by Caroline B. Cooney from The Blythe Daniel Agency to review. All opinions are my own.