Children already emulate, admire and revere their parents and caregivers in so many ways. Here are 5 ways to be your child's reading superhero.
1. Train to be strong readers together.
A day spent reading side by side with your child under a tree may sound more like relaxation than hard work, but every minute spent with text (and rereading favorite texts) builds the frequency and stamina your child needs to be a strong independent reader. Often reluctant readers push back against independent reading time because of the isolation factor. The beauty of this "training" is that you are bringing companionship to the act of reading.
2. Be a vulnerable reader.
One of the most magical things about reading is the way stories move us - to tears, to laughter, to sleeping with a light on after a frightful tale. Make all of these emotions visible to your child as they happen to you, and talk to her about what in particular - a certain event or turn of phrase - moved you.
3. Be a curious reader.
We all have favorite genres of text that we return to again and again, this is because we have built strong reading identities by exploring a wide variety of text. Embrace the opportunity to help your child discover who he is as a reader and what he likes to read by reading aloud to him from genres of text that he might overlook and dismiss. For example, poetry and newspaper articles make great read alouds.
4. Be a confident reader.
Commit to making reading aloud joyful and memorable for your child by giving in to silly voices and over the top actions. This is not only an act of reading kindness that will build strong and happy memories for years to come, it will model the fearlessness and confidence that we want our children to have when they approach new texts and new experiences.
5. Make reading safe.
Just as superheroes protect citizens from harm, build safe reading sanctuaries for your child to read whatever he wants, free of judgement. Encourage and validate reading whenever it happens (whether it is the back of a cereal box or a picture book) and allow your child to immerse himself in whatever captivates his attention and makes him want to read more.