Don’t leave reading lessons only to the school. Teaching your child to read should begin at birth. Give your child a good start by trying some of these tips as you go about your day.

  • Talk to your infant and toddler. Point to objects and describe them as you play and go about your daily routine together.
  • Play rhyming games and sing silly songs to help your child learn about language.
  • Read to your child every day, even when she’s still a baby. Don’t wait until you think she’s "old enough" to be read to.
  • Point out the printed words in your home and in public—the grocery store, restaurants, the doctor’s office, etc.
  • Take books with you when you leave home. Once your child is old enough, bring crayons and paper with you too, and encourage him to draw pictures or practice letters.
  • Point to each word as you read. This teaches your child that reading goes from left to right and that the word you say is the word she sees.
  • Stop to ask questions about the pictures and what’s happening in the story.
  • Discuss new words. For example: “This big house is called a palace. Who do you think lives in a palace?”
  • Express what you are reading. Use voices for the characters, roar like a lion or bark like a dog.
  • Have your child sit on your lap or snuggle up to you as you read books together.
  • Read your child's favorite book over and over again.
  • Read from a variety of children's books, including fairy tales, songbooks, poems and nonfiction.
  • Keep books where your child can easily reach them. Encourage him to touch and flip through them.
  • Occasionally, instead of reading from a book, tell your children stories. Make them up or dramatize an old family story.
  • Set a good example for your child by reading books, newspapers and magazines.
  • Limit the amount and type of television you and your child watch. Even better, turn off the television and spend time cuddling and reading books together.
  • Reach out to libraries and other community organizations to help you find age-appropriate books, teach you creative ways to use books and provide year-round children’s reading and educational activities.


Download Reading  Tips for Parents

Volunteers in
United Way of Central Iowa's
Power Read
program read with children weekly to improve literacy skills. Each child is introduced to 25 books through 50 reading sessions in a year.

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