Tips to Parents: How to Help Your Child’s Reading


Plenty of books in the house. Nightly story time. Exposure to words, words and more words.

Those are three components that help a child develop reading skills from birth on, and the more a child reads the better in correlates with achievement. Research shows the more a child reads and is read to at home the better they do in school. A student who reads 20 minutes each day clocks in 3,600 minutes per school year and reads 1.8 million words per year.

So if you’re worried about your child passing third grade beginning in 2019-2020, you can help him or her acquire the required reading skills.

“I think parents feel a little bit like they are left out of this particular equation,” said Lowell Area Schools Superintendent Greg Pratt of the third-grade reading legislation. “The reality is just the opposite. Parents can impact this age group’s reading progress probably more than any other age group. Reading to your child every day can be done very early and can be put in place every day.”

Pratt said the district has and will continue to support parents in helping their children to become better readers. He noted Lowell’s decade-old summer Arrow Readers on the Move program, and that the district sent books home this summer with students who have been needing help with reading.

“We’re surprised how many students don’t have a collection of books to access,” he added. “All those things make a big impact.”

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Oriole Park Elementary School social worker Heidi Workman, left, and Principal Jennifer Slanger talk about parenting strategies during Superhero Literacy Night

Parents Offer Insight

Parents attending Superhero Reading Night recently at Oriole Park Elementary School, in Wyoming Public Schools, learned at-home reading strategies and were connected with resources available at Kent District Library.

Mom Dawn Parm said she makes it a priority to support her children’s learning.

“It’s important to support learning, reading and education in general for the kids,” Parm said. “And it’s important for parents to be involved with the kids, so they see their parents are interested in what they are learning.”

Dad Jim Bos said he’s already seen at-home reading pay off with his second-grader, sixth-grader and seventh-grader, who are all reading well above grade level.

“It’s important to be consistent about it,” Bos said. “When my kids were younger, we were always reading one to two books a night with them. Have them try. Not always read to them; give them a shot. Have a variety of books so things stay fresh for them.

He said reading well has helped his children overall.

“When you have good readers, that gives them an advancement terms of all the other academic stuff too,” he said. “Don’t just send them to bed, take a seat with them. Read with them.”

Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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