Why read to your children, or encourage them to read? As parents we need to help our children find the tools they need to succeed in life. By motivating our children to read, they will begin to enjoy reading and will grow into adults who read easily and frequently, whether for business, knowledge, or pleasure.
Here are some benefits of reading with your child:
·         Educational Testing Service reported that students who do more reading at home are better readers and have higher math scores.
·         Young children need to practice letter and sound recognition and can do so by reading or being read to. This is also a way for parents to contribute to their child’s academic success.
·         Reading together helps develop a child’s attention span. Furthermore, reading aloud more difficult books is likely to increase a child’s listening comprehension and vocabulary.
·         Family values and cultural traditions can be passed on to children through books.
·         Reading can be inexpensive and fun entertainment for both adults and children, and provides a good alternative to television and video games.
·         Books can expand a child’s imagination, boost their self-confidence and help them develop an appreciation for the arts through the book’s illustrations.
·         Shared reading time is one way to bond with your children, share in their interests and become more involved in their lives.
·         Reading books on difficult issues, such as divorce or death, can open the lines of communication between parent and child on these topics.
·         Finally, being read to is an experience that children will remember for a lifetime, and one that will form the foundation for all future learning.


Here are some simple ideas parents can do to encourage their children to read:

·         Read aloud to your children. Read books, newspapers, magazine articles, the backs of cereal boxes, labels on cans or even directions.

·         Set aside a special time each day when you will read together as a family for at least 15 minutes.

·         If your child likes a particular book, look for other books by the same author or illustrator. Also, look for books, plays, comics or magazines that correspond with your child’s interests.

·         Occasionally read to your child above his/her intellectual level to challenge his/her mind.

·         Set a good example for your children by reading yourself. Be sure they have plenty of opportunities to see you enjoying reading and talk with them about what you have read.

·         Help you children get their own library cards and let them pick out their own books.

·         Keep a bag with a few of your child’s favorite books and some new stories. Take it wherever you go out, in case you have to wait somewhere. 

·         When reading out loud with your child, take turns reading paragraphs or sentences. Have your child choose a character from the book and have him/her read that character’s lines throughout the book. If your child struggles with a word, tell him/her the word and continue in order to make reading a pleasant experience.

·         Encourage experienced readers to summarize verbally or on paper what they’ve read. Children should be encouraged to read for entertainment and not just for academics.

·         Fathers and father figures should make an extra effort to read with their children. A dad’s participation in reading with his child helps to elevate reading to at least the same status as baseball and hockey, especially in the eyes of his son.

·         Encourage older children to read to younger children, to other family members and with friends.

·         When you finish reading together, encourage your child with praise. Remember to be enthusiastic about improvement as well as good work.

Source:  NYS PTA PARP Toolkit.  For more information about literacy and promoting reading with your child(ren), look at the PARP Toolkit Section 5 below. 

PARP – Pick a Reading Partner

Learning to read is the single most important activity in a child’s education.  Studies show that children who read at home are better prepared to succeed in school.  PARP is a program that cements the necessary bond between the home and the school to encourage love of reading in our children.

PARP is a statewide PTA administered program that asks parents (or caregivers) to read with their children for at least twenty minutes a day, stressing the fact that reading can be fun as well as informative.  The choice of reading materials can vary from books to anything with printed words to even playing word games like Scrabble or Boggle.  The daily activity of reading together strengthens reading and communication skills in the child and also strengthens the parent/child relationship.

A PARP program can be run at little or no cost.  It is a voluntary effort of the school/ local community which includes parents, students, administrators, teachers and staff in a collaborative partnership whose focus is on reading.

PARP Toolkit
NYS PTA has created a Pick A Reading Partner (PARP) Toolkit which provides all the necessary materials you need to run a successful program.  Each section is now available in Google Doc format and some are also available in PDF. You can now also see past PARP Award winners.

PARP Toolkit

PARP Award
New York State PTA sponsors regional PARP Awards annually, from which one statewide winner is selected.  New York State PTA units, schools (including pre-schools, non-PTA schools, non-public schools, middle schools and high schools), public libraries, community and parent groups may apply for this award. More information is available here.