Studies show that children that enjoy reading are successful readers. The first step in encouraging a love of reading is in making certain the book or story your child is reading is on an appropriate level.
To determine whether it is or not, use the Five Finger Rule: Read a page or two with your child. If they stumble over words five or more times on a page, the book/selection is too difficult. 2-3 mistakes is the perfect level. Less than that and you might seriously consider moving them up a level. (Too easy is just as frustrating as too hard.)
Once you've determined the correct level, you might try some of these suggestions:
1. Read WITH your child whenever possible.
2. Try to read at the same time every day in a comfortable, quiet place.
3. Encourage your child to do his/her best.
4. Use positive re-enforcement. The more confidence the child has, the better reader they'll be. And it's literally amazing what a child who believes in himself/herself can accomplish.
This is also EXTREMELY important with good readers. Oftentimes we forget to praise a child who is doing well, but they need it just as much.
5. Have your child 'track' while they read. Simply put, that means their finger should be moving along beneath the words, and should always be under the word that is being read. This helps them focus their attention and keep track of where they are.
Tracking is also an important skill most teachers require students to have in their classrooms, so more than likely, you're reinforcing something your child's teacher is already having them do.
6. Another helpful hint I use when my children are having trouble tracking is to place a bookmark or piece of paper beneath the sentence the child is reading. This trains their eyes to stay on the line they're reading, and also helps a child who is overwhelmed with a lot of text.
So... what do you do that helps your child read better? OR... Did any of these tips help you? I'd love to hear any comments or feedback.