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Aug. 15, 2023

Ask the expert: How can parents help boost children’s literacy skills?

Headshot of Patricia Edwards.
Patricia Edewards, a professor in Michigan State University’s College of Education, is a nationally recognized expert in parent involvement in education, community partnerships and multicultural literacy. Courtesy photo.


Patricia Edwards, professor of language and literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University’s College of Education, is a nationally recognized expert on parent involvement as well as home, school and community partnerships. Edwards shares strategies for parents to help their children enjoy reading and improve their literacy skills.


Edwards says helping a child who struggles with reading can be a rewarding experience for parents. It is essential to approach this challenge with patience, support and understanding. Here are some tips to assist parents in guiding their child toward improved reading skills:


  • Identify the struggle: Recognize the specific areas in which your child faces difficulty. It could be decoding words, comprehension or fluency. Understanding the root cause of the struggle will help you tailor your approach to address their needs effectively.
  • Make reading fun: Create a positive reading environment by making it enjoyable and engaging. Choose books that align with your child’s interests and offer a mix of reading materials, such as comics, graphic novels or magazines. Reading aloud together also can be a fun bonding activity and an opportunity to discuss the story.
  • Set realistic goals: Encourage progress by setting achievable goals. Break down reading tasks into smaller steps and celebrate each milestone achieved. This will boost your child’s confidence and motivation to continue improving.
  • Establish a routine: Consistency is key to helping a struggling reader. Set aside regular time for reading each day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Creating a routine will build a reading habit and provide structure to their learning process.
  • Seek professional support: If your child’s struggles persist or seem severe, consider seeking help from a reading specialist or educational therapist. They can assess your child’s reading abilities more thoroughly and provide personalized strategies to address their specific needs.

Remember, every child is unique, and progress may vary. Encouragement and patience are vital during this journey, as building reading skills takes time and effort. By being actively involved in your child’s reading development, you can make a significant impact on their academic success and love for learning.

By: Patricia Edwards

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