The University of Iowa

10 Reading Tips for Families


Posted on: February 12, 2016

Below you will find 10 reading tips families can use to help support young readers at home.  

Tip 1: Read and Talk Every Day

Reading and talking with your child every day helps build language skills and improves his chance for academic success.

Example: Set aside 15-20 minutes a day for reading and talking with your child. Bedtime is a great time to get snuggly with a good book to read and discuss. Committing to reading and talking every day shows your child that reading is a priority.

Tip 2: Provide Choices

Provide different types of books for your child to read.

Example: A balance of fiction and non-fiction books is important. The public library is a great place to get non-fiction books.

Tip 3: Be a Model

Let your child see you be a reader.

Example: Show your child that reading isn’t limited to books. Magazines, newspapers, online articles, blogs, recipe collections, and comics are all types of texts that can help parents model being readers.

Tip 4: Repetition Rocks

Rereading books is a great way for children to build understanding and improve reading accuracy.

Example: You might groan when asked to reread a story for the umpteenth time, but it is great for your child. Read aloud her favorite stories over and over to help improve your child’s listening comprehension skills. In addition, if your child can read, rereading texts is a way to improve her reading accuracy.

Tip 5: Read Everywhere

Fill up spare time with reading, no matter where you are.

Example: Keep a spare book in the car or a purse to take into a doctor’s office or any other type of space where you will have some wait time. Reading will make any waiting time feel purposeful.

Tip 6: Read with Expression

Make books come alive by changing your voice when you read aloud.

Example: Make your read alouds sound like conversation. You can use different voices for characters. Make your voice sound different when you encounter different punctuation marks.

Tip 7: Read for a Purpose

Show your child how reading is necessary to accomplish everyday tasks.

Example: While making dinner, have your child help you read and follow a recipe. Show your child how you read instructions to assemble a new toy or piece of furniture.

Tip 8: Extend Learning

Show your child how to read to learn.

Example: Read books with your child that relate to a particular interest he may have. If he likes soccer, see if the library has a book about the history of the sport.

Tip 9: Ask Questions

Ask your child questions to see if she understands the story as you read.

Example: You might ask her to make a prediction about what might happen next. You can also ask her to tell you what she liked best about the book or which part she thought was most important in the story. Listen to her to see if her answers make sense.

Tip 10: Library Visit

Libraries have a wealth of resources families can use to help support young readers.

Example: Help your child sign up for a library card and any reading reward programs they might offer (i.e. summer reading program). Libraries also have great story time classes and other learning activities worth checking out.