5 Important Tips to Help Your Child Learn to Read

tips to help your child learn to readWe all know that reading is an essential skill. However, to what degree do strong reading skills impact performance in other areas? Well, educational research indicates that there’s a strong relationship between reading and academic success. This means, a student who is a good reader is more likely to perform better in school than a student who is a weak reader. This all makes plain sense, right? Yet, helping a child learn to read is easier said than done and learning how to read doesn’t come over night. The skill is acquired through dedication, consistency and time – and of course, the sooner you begin working on the habit with your child the better.

5 tips to help your child learn to read:

  1. Read to/with your child for 20 minutes a day, everyday. When your child stops at a difficult word, give them five seconds to try and attempt the word themselves. If they can’t figure it out, give them a clue. For example, you can point to a picture or sound out the first letter of the word together. Praise your child after they figure out the word.
  2. Practice what you preach. We all know that kids learn a great deal by example, so let your children see you reading and enjoying it.
  3. Surround kids with books regularly. Make visits to the library and bookstore. Also, load smartphones and tablets with more than games and fun apps. You can download eBooks and reading apps such as Raz-Kids and Epic.
  4. Read words everywhere. Encourage your child to read street signs while walking or driving, read labels on food items while at the grocery store and read recipes as you cook or bake together.
  5. Allow your child to choose. Give them the freedom to pick books on topics they enjoy. If they want to read the same book over and over, that’s okay too.

How to Encourage Reading at Home

how to encourage reading at home

Many primary school teachers are concerned that there’s not enough reading happening at home. Often enough, a lack of reading leads to weak reading skills. Unfortunately, the buck doesn’t stop here. Research shows that both reading and writing skills work together. This means that a child with troubles in reading, will often be a weaker writer. On the flip side, the stronger the reader, the better the writer.

Studies show that reading 20 minutes a day at home makes for a healthy reading diet. While 20 minutes does not seem that long, it actually works out to 140 minutes of reading per week, or at least 9 hours of reading per month. Now, that’s a pretty sweet deal for a measly 20 minutes a day. Think bigger now. A five year old child who begins reading 20 minutes per day, will read over 600 hours by their 10th birthday! Not bad, right?

How To Encourage At Least 20 Minutes of Reading Per Day

#1. Set a specific place and time for your child to read. Be religious about this place and time for at least 21 days. Studies show that it takes only 21 days to form a new habit.

#2. Have reading material available at home that your child likes. Today, there’s no good reason why any home should be without books or access to books. Get in the habit of making trips to the library or bookstore. If you don’t want to make the trip then there are great options available online (we’ve listed some below). Ahem – no excuses!

#3. Make reading something your child looks forward to. Don’t force your opinions on their book selection. Let them explore their own interests. If the book is too junior or mature for them, it’s fine to step in. However, if they want to pick up a Batman comic or another version of Cinderella, it’s okay. The point is to get them reading and enjoy the experience.

Online Reading Resources

1. EPIC (for iOS devices; app available in iTunes). EPIC is the first all-you-can-read eBook subscription service with thousands of high-quality books from well known publishers like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, National Geographic and others. It’s like Netflix but with books instead of movies and TV shows. We highly recommend EPIC and it’s a definite favourite among kids too.

2. The Overdrive app (for iOS, Android, Chromebook, Mac OS, Windows, and Windows Phone) allows you to connect to your local library using your library card. You can borrow eBooks for free!


raz-kids viva learn tutoring milton

Viva Learn Offers Raz-Kids Service to their Students!

Viva Learn Adopts the Popular Literacy Tool, Raz-Kids, in their Milton Tutoring Centre

If you’re a parent of a little one, then you’ve heard of Raz-Kids. Raz-Kids is an online guided reading program with interactive ebooks and quizzes. This tool is perfect for building and strengthening literacy skills for K-5 youth. With Raz-Kids, children have access to tons of books spanning 27 levels of difficulty. The clubhouse-like environment engages kids to read more books, while the incentive (to collect more stars), motivates them to move on to higher reading levels.

How Raz-Kids Works:

To gain access to Raz-Kids, teachers and parents have to pay an annual fee for their students/children. Once a child has access, they simply login to their “classroom”, select a book to read (or listen to), complete a quiz on the book, then do it all again and again….and again!

To move from one level to the next, the reader has to complete all the tasks for that level. For example, a level may require reading 45 books before moving forward. Teachers or parents can also assign quizzes and assignments to the reader and check-in to view marks and how many books have been read.

Why We’ve Adopted Raz-Kids:

Viva Learn is all about engaging, catered learning and Raz-Kids definitely fits the bill when it comes to building literacy skills. At our centre, students can log into their own personal library which is set to their guided reading level.  Every time a student takes a quiz on a book they’ve read, we can see the results. This allows us to track if they are falling below, at, or above where they should be for their grade.  What’s better is that the reading never has to stop. Our students can access their Viva Learn/Raz-Kids account from home, at anytime. We are extremely happy to offer this tool for free to Viva Learn students!

To find out more about Raz-Kids and our tutoring services, please contact us.