The more children read, the more they want to read because it becomes easy and fun. However, some children get in the opposing habit of not reading and not wanting to read. With lack of practice, their skills stagnate and reading becomes work, not fun. As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to motivate your child to read more and read better.
Set a good example. Read for pleasure yourself, and make sure your child sees you reading. If you don't read, your child will get the silent message that reading isn't important.
Make reading a social activity, not a lonely one. Read aloud to your child, even when she's old enough to read by herself.
Encourage your child to read whatever interests him -- books on soccer, science fiction or even recipes. A passion for cooking or history can ignite a passion for reading.
Schedule a regular time for reading, such as after dinner or before bed. Make reading a habit and an expected part of the daily routine.
Create an environment rich in reading materials. Fill your home with books and magazines, and encourage your child to read a wide variety of printed material, including catalogs, maps, menus and schedules.
Play board and card games that require reading directions or spelling out words with letter tiles. Games combine fun and companionship with reading practice.
Give books or magazines as gifts for birthdays, holidays or any time. Choose materials that are attractive and interest your child.
Use the library for an endless supply of new books and magazines without breaking the budget. Make library visits a regular family activity once a week or more. Encourage your child to participate in library reading groups or incentive programs. Make the library a place for fun by taking your child to story time.
Connect reading with daily life and the interesting world outside. For example, talk about what you read at dinner, and ask your child to share her reading. After your child finishes a book about animals, visit the zoo.
Use oral language as a bridge to reading. Learn poems and songs together, with or without recordings. Buy audiobooks or borrow them from the library so your child can read and listen at the same time. Audiobooks are also available for download through public libraries and online.
Build a personal library for your child at home. Buy books that can take heavy use, and fill a shelf with books that interest him. Find bargains through library and school used book sales.
Get everyone involved. Ask your spouse or your child's babysitter, grandparent, brother or sister to read to your child. Insist that day care providers make books readily available and know that reading is a priority for your child.