7 New Year's Resolutions for Parents of Beginning Readers Who Want Their Child to Succeed as a Reader + Good Reading Goals For Students
I'm not sure how you feel about New Year's Resolutions. Everyone has a different take on how they bring on the new year, how they choose to tackle the things in life that they hope to accomplish. But, I'm pretty sure that for everyone, setting goals is always a positive thing.
If you have a beginning reader, you should teach your student with purpose and direction. There are good ways and techniques to teach your child how to read and you need a plan!
Especially if you have a struggling reader, you may need to put a little more thought into what goes into your child's reading instruction this year. Take a few minutes to see if these goals are worthy for you to pursue.
Here are 7 "resolutions" to put on your to-do list for the year:
1. Figure out what your child's strengths are in reading.
Just like many skills in life, we each have different strengths and weaknesses for it. In reading, there are SO MANY ways different people tackle a block of text. Even though it's second nature for anyone who already knows, in reality it is a complex process in the brain.
You don't need to be a reading specialist to know some of the basics. But understanding what they are (keep reading and I'll tell you!) can give you some insight into how your child approaches reading
Does your child:
- Know the alphabet? (And specifically the sounds of the letters of the alphabet?)
- Have phonological awareness? Your child can hear the sounds and blends of letters. She knows how to read a blend of two or more consonants (such as "th" or "sh" or a double consonant, such as "oo")
- Have great fluency at any level? He can smoothly read a passage with proper expression and structural interpretation, even if it is in the most beginner of books.
- Like to discuss the book and ask lots of questions? This indicates good reading comprehension. You can encourage this by diving deeper into the story and asking good questions.
- Work hard at reading? This alone can be a great strength in life and in academics. Make sure if you have a hard worker, that you acknowledge that effort!
It's important to be able to recognize your child's strengths in reading so that you can capitalize on these strengths and use them to bolster whatever your child may need a little extra help with. All cylinders must be firing in the brain in order for great reading to happen, so play to those strengths.
And, children respond to praise! If you have a child who has difficulty with reading, their areas of accomplishment should definitely be celebrated.
2. Target what your child's specific struggles are in reading. (And then find examples of good reading goals to overcome these struggles.)
Look at the way your child reads with the critical eye of someone trying to diagnose a problem. Go back through the list I mentioned above when you were noticing the strengths of your child, and decide what your student needs to work on most.
The building blocks must be there first. Every student really needs to know the sounds of all the letters of the alphabet in order to read successfully. Does your child need to focus here in the coming weeks?
Is it phonics you really need to work on?
What about fluency? Maybe your child needs to hear more reading aloud before tackling it on their own so much.
Or comprehension - focus on strategies and techniques to help your child understand and analyze, really think about what they are reading.
3. Make certain your child is read aloud to daily.
Yes, this really does need to be the goal of every parent, and especially in the early years! If you head to any advice column, blog, website, teacher or reading specialist to find out what you need to do to make your child a great reader, this is it.
Studies have shown that the more children are read aloud to, the better reader they are bound to be in the future. The basic number to read is 20 minutes or more a day for best exposure.
Why? Well, many reasons! It develops a great love for reading, and a desire to be able to read themselves. It helps fluency, vocabulary, and general reading aptitude.
Not to mention that it encourages a great bond between you and your child to read stories together each day.
Don't really love to read aloud? Or maybe you have 5 different children all at different levels or preferences of reading, and you worried your voice may give out 🙂
Get creative! Sometimes yes, you need to read to your child, but also - you can have others read to your child. Get siblings involved. Ask grandparents to read or the babysitter. Get your spouse to take a turn in reading!
Or, you can use digital books to read aloud to your child. Borrow read-alouds from the library. Search online for programs that have online books for children. Check out (below) a 30-day trial from Audible to listen to a good book in the car or at home on a device.
But no matter how you go about it, make this a goal for sure! Your child needs to be read aloud to, and you need to be the person that makes sure this gets done.
4. Start pointing out or encouraging your child to read signs and menus.
Depending on your child's level of reading maturity, find ways as you are out and about to encourage your child to notice written words and their importance.
You can point out the STOP sign to your preschooler and ask, "What do you think that sign says? Yes! That word says and means STOP."
Your early elementary child can begin to look at the children's menu at a restaurant and begin to help make decisions about their food choices based on the words written. Many times the menu will have a picture of the food next to the words, providing context clues.
As you pass by stores and signs that you often frequent, encourage your child to guess and read the signs. When you repeat this daily or weekly, the words become familiar to your reader.
Get creative! Urge your child to read the words on the screen or in the hymnal at church, turn on the closed captioning during tv shows, ask your child what they think the labels mean on the panel of your car. Words are everywhere. You can use this to your advantage! Make this a goal for the new year.
5. Get more involved in your child's classroom and interact with your child's teacher more often.
This one is important, too. At the very least, make sure you are signing up for and showing up to your child's parent/teacher conference.
Be your child's best advocate. Get a good grasp on how your student's teacher thinks he is doing in reading and in class. Ask questions about how you can improve your child's experience and if the teacher has any recommendations.
Beyond that, ask if you can be a volunteer in any way! See if you can help cut out shapes, listen to kids read, come read to the class and give your child's teacher a break.
Realize that you and your student's teacher are in a partnership. You want her to feel a collaborative spirit with you and to know that you view her as a team partner in your child's education. Value her experience and expertise.
Understand that she is probably overwhelmed if she has a large class and has to try to fit one curriculum to teach students of many learning styles.
Homeschooling parents, take the time to find out what someone else thinks about how your child is doing in certain areas. Ask your spouse to help evaluate, even if only on a high level. Spending every day with your own child may give you tunnel vision. Asking other opinions of those you respect can be of great value to you!
6. Take a bit of time to analyze your home library.
Go through the books you have and decide if they are worthy to keep or donate. Keep books that your child has surpassed the level of only if it was a beloved book that the child will miss. Other books, give away so that your library isn't overwhelming to your reader.
Make sure you have books that are at about the level of your student. This is so that your child can easily read in spare time without having to labor through the book.
That being said, make sure to have a few books above level as well. Particularly in an area of interest to your child, to provide motivation to read that book!
Have a section in your home library for all the books you borrow from the library, and make sure this is an ever-rotating lineup of books. Keep note of the ones your child loves the most for holidays and birthdays!
Keeping a thriving library at home with a cozy place to curl up with a good book will go far in helping your student to become a great reader.
7. Make it your goal to find your child's "point of entry" book THIS YEAR.
I know you are probably wondering what in the heck I mean by that! Consider the point of entry book to be the first book your child falls in love with and begins to develop a love of reading because of.
It will be different for every child, because every child is different.
It will differ because of your child's age,
your child's interests,
your child's current reading level,
your child's hopes and dreams.
Consider his personality and try to fit the most excellent example of what he might love the most. Read it aloud to him at first, and if he loves it, have it available as an option for silent reading also.
Most adults who love to read can tell you a handful of books that they remember from childhood that really gave them a deep love of reading. Make it your goal this year to find THAT book this year for your reader!
In addition, you may want to help your reader come up with his or her own list of good reading goals.
Some ideas that you can help your student can think of:
- Read more books (set a certain number maybe to shoot for?)
- Read for longer blocks of time. (increasing reading stamina)
- To head to the library more often
- To read every day
Ask your reader to come up with his own! Each reader may have a different goal to set for themselves. Talk it through and then find ways to be encouraging as they aim for and work toward those goals.
Note: Reading goals for high school students and reading goals for middle school students are a must-do also! Create a printable or worksheet listing the reading goals for your student too..
I hope these ideas have encouraged you to be the best parent you can be for your child's future as a reader.
Just a little bit of effort every day for a little bit of time can reap great rewards for your child's academic success. Be sure to make it a priority!
For Christmas or the holidays this year, maybe choose books or gifts that encourage reading activities. Check out this article to get a few good ideas on that.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any other great ideas or things that have worked for you that make your kids a better reader. I'd love to hear about it!
Forever a reader for life,
P.S. Don't forget to grab this printable list of resolutions for parents of beginning readers to keep you going in the New Year!
More articles to check out!
Grab a list of New Year's Resolutions or Goals HERE to make this a successful year for your beginning reader!