The Practice of Reading

One of my favorite posters I’ve seen hanging in classrooms is this:

I like this poster not only because it makes me chuckle, but also because it’s a good reminder that in order to get better at something, you have to practice. Reading is just like a sport, riding a bike, cooking, or any other skill you learn. It needs to be practiced in order for you to get better. And just like a sport or other skill you are learning, the best way to get better is to have someone guide you, teach you the correct techniques, and be a model for you.

Teachers are models and guides for students at school, but kids spend most of their time at home. Parents therefore are a child’s best teacher. Here are some tips that I share with parents of the students I teach to help them reinforce reading practice at home.

Tips for Reading at Home

Adapted from the Reading is Fundamental Website (

1. Read aloud with and to your child daily and have him or her read to you. When your child reads to you, the books should be at his/her reading level. When reading to or with your child, choose books that your child is interested in but that are too difficult for him/her to read on their own.

2. Create a print rich home environment. Include a variety of reading and writing materials and set aside a special reading area that everyone uses.

3. Model reading and writing. Let your child see you read and write often and demonstrate fluent reading and correct forms of writing for your child.

4. Find opportunities everywhere to practice reading and writing skills. Practicing literacy skills doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun by incorporating learning into every day activities, playing games, singing songs, even watching TV together. If you speak more than one language, literacy development should occur in the language you speak most at home.

5. Cook and shop with your child to develop literacy. Read recipes and ingredient labels together and write and read shopping lists together.

6. Explore books together. Ask your child questions about the books they are reading.

7. Tell stories together. Use pictures to help tell family stories, tell stories about your day or about a special time you shared, or make up silly stories.

8. Write with your child. Encourage him or her to draw pictures and write about what they draw. Write lists, thank-you notes, letters to family or friends, signs, etc. to practice common forms of writing.

9. Visit the library often. Join family book clubs or participate in family reading programs.

10. Ask your child what he or she is reading in school. Have discussions with your child’s teachers about their literacy development.


If you have a child who is unmotivated to read, perhaps these Top 10 Reasons from Garfield will help encourage him or her to keep practicing (or at least make you both laugh).



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Whitney Gohlke
    Jul 17, 2016 @ 17:11:09

    I too had the very same poster. I would LOVE to be able to replace my now thrown away tattered poster. Do you know if it is still in print?


    • Petra
      Jul 18, 2016 @ 20:09:41

      Hi Whitney, I’ve seen a different version of it on Amazon (search 10 ways to become a better reader poster), but I don’t know if that particular one is still in print. Good luck! Hope you find it.


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