Read to, and for, Your Child

I’ve been a teacher for a long time, since 1997 to be precise.  I’m currently the Director of the Sylvan Learning Center here in Nashville.  The question that parents have probably asked me the most over my career is a variation of, “How can I help my child at home?”  My answer?  Read.

There is a lot of information and research out there on the benefits of reading.  Most of us know that we should have our children read a least 20 minutes a day (give or take).  This can be you reading to your child, or your child reading to him or herself.  And honestly, it really doesn’t matter what they read.  Optimally, it would be great for your child to be reading books that challenge them as well as entertain them.  But, if you have a child that isn’t excited about reading, just getting them to read anything can be victory enough.  Yes, books are great, but so are comic books and graphic novels.  Magazines are great tools as well.  The idea is just to find something that your kid will read so they can start developing the habit of reading on a daily basis.

Want to help encourage your child to read more?  Pick up a book.  That’s right, parents should be reading too.  You should know by now that your kid watches every move you make to learn the way they should act.  You are your child’s role model in so many way, and reading is one of them.  If you want your kid to value reading, you have to show that it is valuable. 

I can hear the question though, “Where do I find the time to read?”  We’ve all got so much going on every day, it can be hard to find the time to do the things we know we should, like model reading for our kids.  Remember though, it’s only for 20 minutes.  Most of us have 20 minutes in our day that we could take from less important activities (leave the email and facebook for after the kids are in bed?).  Ultimately, it’s about priorities and value.  How important is it to you that your child is a good reader?  What value will being a good reader have for your child in the future? 

Do you have other ideas for helping turn a reluctant reader into an eager one?


I’ve recently started writing for again as their Nashville Education Examiner.  You can find me at

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