What Are the Best Tips for Improving Literacy in Children?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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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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Post 3

@irontoenail - You might have to just find the right reading material. That is the best tip I can give people. Don't be stuck up about types of books or magazines. If your child loves video games, then get them magazines about games or games that involve reading (and make sure they don't skip that part). If they love TV, get them books about TV characters. There are books that tie in with most series, from Pokemon to Barbie.

Get books full of silly jokes, or books with interesting facts. Get them reading websites. It doesn't matter what they read, only that they do it a lot.

Most importantly, do it with them and do it where they can see you do it. Family literacy programs often work much better than just teaching a lone child, because they love interacting with their parents.

Post 2

@MrsPramm - I wouldn't say fluency should be the utmost. I think it's a consequence of enthusiasm and that should be the most important thing. If children are excited about reading they will naturally want to do it.

My nephew used to love reading and being read to and would never go to sleep without going through at least two or three picture books. Then he went to live with his father for a while and that side of the family didn't read to him. Now, whenever he comes over he just has no interest in reading at all and we can't seem to get him started again. Teaching literacy to children is so much easier and more fun for them when they want to do it and understand the point of it.

Post 1

Encouraging literacy is so important. It's been shown to be one of the most important things you can do for your child. If you think about it, everything else hangs on this one skill. If your child doesn't keep up with their classmates, it will become harder and harder to catch up later on, because they simply won't be able to understand class lessons and the teacher won't have the time to teach them individually.

Even if they know how to read and write, but do so very slowly, they are going to be at a serious disadvantage. Fluency should be the utmost aim from the first day of school.

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