In the past year, I have been working with young adults who are trying to enter the Marines. In order to do that they must pass the ASVAB exam. The four main components are reading comprehension, word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning and math knowledge. The biggest roadblock for the recruits that I have worked with is their ability to understand the pronunciation and meaning of words as well as comprehend the word problems. When I ask if they like to read they all say no.
Exposure to both written and oral language is vital to the development of a strong vocabulary and success in school and beyond. Language development begins at birth with each interaction that a child has. The more that a child is exposed to words in print as well as new, larger words, the broader their understanding of the world will be. Some ways that vocabulary can be expanded is to have conversations with your child, using new words in familiar context so that they can understand the meaning, as well as reading together.
As children enter school, it is important that reading be encouraged as not just a school activity but as a recreational activity. One way that this can be done is to continue to share reading time, either by reading a book together or by setting aside a family reading time. Children learn from what we do. If they see that we find reading valuable by our behavior, they are more likely to form this same habit. Another way to share reading is to discuss something that you really enjoyed in a book.
Creating lifelong readers is a key to success in all areas of life!