Developing Good Reading Habits for Children

Books are so important for school-age children. Your child is being introduced to the wonderful world of books in elementary school. No child sees the same book in the same way; this is because each child's reading habits differ from her peers' reading habits. To help your child grasp the contents of a story better, help her develop some good reading habits!

The key to developing good reading habits is helping you child create a lot of interaction with the text. These tips should help those school age children who have already learned to read and are now reading books that help them study, for example a history book or a book about science.

Good Reading Habits

Cover Up!
For many kids in elementary school, a page of words begins to blur together and kids can get lost in this haze. See if using an index card placed underneath the line currently being read helps focus their attention.

Use Your Hands
Have your child follow the text with his finger. This promotes the use of tactile learning, for those students who are kinesthetic learners-learners who need touch to optimize their learning curve!

Read Aloud
Have your child read the text out loud. Or, if they're studying in the library or in class, silently mouth the words. This really helps kids who learn best when they hear the material-these kids are auditory learners.

Make Notes in the Margins
Interacting with the text is key to encoding more information. Have your child make notes in the margin. Notes can be ideas on how they'll remember the concepts, definitions to difficult words, drawings or diagrams or the way the text makes them feel. When your child looks back on the text before a test, it will help them remember the material.

Highlighters, Everyone!
Highlighters are the perfect school-age tool! Seriously. Buy a bunch of colorful highlighters. Having three differently colored highlighters allows kids to use a different color for each level of importance. Here's an example of how your child can use highlighters to organize a chapter

blue highlighter: main points of chapter
green highlighter: details that support the main points
yellow highlighter: key terms

This color combination works well since blue sticks out the most; use blue to highlighter the most important information-the main points. The color combination also works well as it follows the rainbow color sequence and therefore is easily understandable in a hierarchical sense.

Write or Talk Out a Summary
After reading a chunk of material, such as a chapter, have your child either write down or talk to you about the key points of the chapter. Again, if they're an auditory learner, have a discussion about the points of the chapter. If your child is a visual learner, have her draw a diagram of important points. Doing this will solidify the information they have just read!

Use Book Marks or Sticky Notes
Kids can put a sticky note, like the colored plastic sticky flags, to mark each new chapter in a book. It's a good idea to put the notes for earlier chapters towards the top of the page, and have each subsequent chapter note move farther down the left side of the page. Or your child can use it to bookmark important chapter points.

Active Reading
The above tips on developing good reading habits are based on the theory of 'active reading'. Active reading helps a student's comprehension and retention for reading materials. Understanding and remembering what a child reads is instrumental in academic performance, as most of the information they learn in school is read in textbooks. Developing the good habits of active reading will also aid your child in her later academic endeavors! Happy reading!