What Are the Best Tips for Improving Literacy in Children?

A child will be more likely to want to read is she sees her parents doing it.
Reading with children may help improve literacy in children.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2014
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Improving literacy in children is not necessarily difficult or complicated, though it can be easier to do earlier in a child’s development. The primary method for increasing a child’s literacy is to encourage the child to read in any and every way possible. Parents of a child can provide this encouragement in a number of different ways, including providing books around the home, reading to a child as early as possible, demonstrating personal reading habits, and making time for reading as a family. Professional assistance can also help improve literacy in children, usually through a trained speech-language pathologist.

Literacy in children refers to the ability of a child to read and understand written language, usually in books or other media formats. Parents can improve their children’s literacy in many ways, though all of these methods serve to reinforce the importance of reading and encourage children to read as much as possible. Reading with children should begin early; even infants can be read to and can help turn the pages of a book with cardboard pages. As children grow and develop, they should continue to be encouraged to read in numerous ways.


Parents should demonstrate good reading habits to help improve literacy in children. Young children often emulate what they see adults and parents doing, so a child who sees his or her parents reading is more likely to begin reading for pleasure himself or herself. It is also important for children to have access to books around the home, and literacy in children can be improved through frequent visits to libraries or bookstores.

Children should be taught to understand that reading is important even beyond enjoyment or for school. Parents should try to demonstrate to children that reading is a vital task beyond books and magazines, which can be illustrated by using shopping lists, reading a menu at a restaurant, and even while navigating the Internet. Literacy in children can also be promoted by choosing the right books for children and young adults, often allowing children to choose the books they would like to read.

While popular books for children or young adults may seem less “meaningful” than revered works of literature, any type of reading children show interest in should be promoted. Improvements in literacy in children can be seen when young people are encouraged to discover what they enjoy to read and then allowed to read those materials whenever possible. Parents of children who repeatedly demonstrate difficulty in reading, or language development in general, should consider the assistance of a professional speech-language pathologist. Early detection and treatment of learning disabilities or obstacles to reading can make future development much easier.


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