Quiz: Are you teaching your child to love reading?

1. How many books are in your child's room?
a. Less than the number of shoes in my closet.
b. None; books are shelved in the family library.
c. Approaching the number in our public library's children's section.

*The best answer is c. Your should immerse your child in books and have a variety at hand for whenever he's in the mood to read. Keeping books in your child's room, along with toys and games, will reinforce reading as a fun activity. If you don't want to spend money on new books, shop at used-book stores or stock up weekly at the library.

2. What do you usually do when your child has free time?
a. Read together for a while, then have him read or flip through books alone.
b. Encourage him to go play alone so you can have some time to yourself.
c. Suggest that he watch a video.

*The best answer is a. Encourage your child to read whenever he has some downtime or is bored. You may face some tough competition from the television set, but try at least to set aside some time every evening for books. Reading with your child is a great way to share a fun experience and to introduce your child to more challenging material. Try to spend part of the time reading to your child, and if he's able, also encourage him to read alone.

3. When do you read books?
a. After my child is asleep; it's the only quiet time I have all day.
b. I don't have time to read.
c. In front of my child, whenever I can.

*The best answer is c. Your child wants to be just like you. If you read in front of him and keep novels and books around the house, your child will want to read too.

4. When was the last time you took your child to the library?
a. It's been so long I can't remember.
b. Last week.
c. Sometime during the last three months or so.

*The best answer is b. Take regular trips to the library, as often as your child wants to (within reason, of course). It's a good way for him to try out new books and authors, and it's free! If you take regular trips, you can also check bulletin boards for upcoming library events such as story times and book clubs. Make your child feel like a regular, and get him a library card in his own name.

5. If your child only wanted to read or look at comic books, what would you do?
a. Say no and encourage a quality book instead.
b. Say, "Great!" and buy more of them.
c. Agree to a few comic books per week as long as my child reads other books, too.

*The best answer is c. Your job is to make reading fun and to teach your child to love books. If comic books are doing the trick, by all means encourage them, but continue to offer more challenging reads, too. Eventually you'll hit on something that's as appealing to your child as the comics.

6. What do you do when your child picks out books that are too difficult?
a. Say that the book is too advanced and put it back on the shelf.
b. Read the book quickly to my child, skimming over hard words and advanced concepts, and then move on to easier books.
c. Read the book with my child, explaining the hard words and discussing the story as we go.

*The best answer is c. Encourage your child to try any book that's interesting, even if it seems too difficult. You can always read these more difficult books to your child. Take the opportunity to introduce new words, and discuss the story as you go to make sure your child comprehends it.

7. If your child wants to hear the same story over and over again and you're losing your mind, what do you do?
a. Pretend to lose the book.
b. Read it as often as my child wants to hear it but suggest other books as well.
c. Tell my child I'll read the book only once a week.

*The best answer is b. Children who are learning to read like repetition, rhymes, and word patterns, and they love to hear books repeatedly. Indulge them. This repetition helps your child memorize the story, which is an important part of learning to read. Encourage your child to finish some of the sentences in the book or to "read" entire passages from memory.

8. If your child doesn't feel like reading, what do you do?
a. Require at least 30 minutes of reading a night, no matter what.
b. Take my child to the library and bookstore to look for books that appeal to his interests.
c. Let it go and figure the problem will take care of itself.
d. I don't ever have this problem my child loves to read.

*The best answer is b. Your child may be avoiding books because he hasn't found any that engage him. Show him that reading can provide information about whatever he's interested in dinosaurs, cars, fairy godmothers, movie stars, magic tricks and he'll be turning pages in no time! A child who doesn't love books and reading may have problems in school down the road, so don't ignore his lack of interest. You should also consider having his eyesight checked. Vision problems can make reading frustrating.

9. Which of the following best describes your child's favorite book?
a. It's falling apart because we read it every night.
b. I don't know. My child does most of his reading at school, not at home.
c. It's at the library. I don't want my child to read the same book over and over at home.

*The best answer is a. If you've been reading to your child since he was a baby, you should have a couple of books that are well worn by now (Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar, for example, is a favorite of 1-year-olds and kindergartners alike). Because memorization is an important part of learning to read, you should continue to read old favorites until your child says he's had enough.

10. How often do you read with your child?
a. Once a week or less.
b. Wherever and whenever he wants to.
c. One hour every night, whether he wants to or not.

*The best answer is b. Reading should be part of everyday life, and you should try to make room for it in your child's daily routine with a book or two just before bedtime, say, or right after dinner. But don't force your child to read if he's not in the mood. Reading should be fun, not a chore or assignment.




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