Helping Your Child Become a Reader, Pt. 1

Your child’s road to reading begins on day one. It starts with the sound of your voice. When you speak, sing, and respond to your baby you’re doing some important work to establish your child’s understanding of language.

One way to think about your child’s early experiences with language and learning to read is by imagining a four-legged stool. The four legs are talking, listening, reading, and writing. Each leg of our stool is crucial in keeping its balance and strength. Using your language skills, you can try the following ideas to strengthen your child’s skills:

  • Talk to your child and listen to them;

  • Read together;

  • Help your child learn about books;

  • Encourage your child’s early writing efforts.

Remember, you don’t need to be the world’s best reader to help your child! By showing your interest and enthusiasm when spending time reading together, you are doing important work in helping your child’s path to reading.

Children become readers step by step. When you share these moments early on, you’re helping to prevent reading difficulties later in your child’s life. In this “Helping Your Child Become a Reader” series, we’ll dive deeper into different ways that you and your child can spend time together on the journey to reading.

Helping Your Child Become a Reader” is a resource designed by the U.S. Department of Education to help parents and caregivers support the development of reading skills in children. The booklet is available online for free and is a valuable resource for parents who are looking for ways to support their child's literacy development.