Tips on helping your Richmond kid become a better reader

For children in grades one through three, there are many activities and opportunities for parents to incorporate reading into their children’s daily lives. During this stage of reading development, children acquire sight vocabulary and, by the end of grade three, have mastered most phonics skills. They begin to establish more formal comprehension skills as they identify story details, such as the main character, and use paraphrasing to retell the story they have read. imageSylvan Learning, the leading provider of in-center and live, online tutoring at home to students of all ages and skill levels, recommends that parents spend at least one hour per week – 10 to 15 minutes a day – doing a reading activity with their children.

To help parents nurture their children’s reading behaviors, the experts at Sylvan Learning offer these tips and ideas for children in grades one through three:

• Enlist your child’s help in following a recipe to cook dinner.
• Subscribe to a magazine for your child (Spider, Ranger Rick, etc.) to learn about topics of interest to him. Make its arrival an event.
• After reading a non-fiction story, ask your child why she thinks the author wrote the story.
• Help your child create charts and posters about topics of interest to her.
• Read picture books by the same author (Tomie DePaola, Bill Martin, Jr., etc.) and compare and contrast them. How are they the same? How are they different?
• After reading a book with your child, discuss the book with him – ask him to identify the characters, setting and problems in the book.
• Help your child recognize how stories are similar or different from his own life.
• Encourage your child to read various types of materials – non-fiction, plays, stories, comics and/or magazines. Ask your child to explain which type she likes best.
• Introduce your child to the library and plan special library visits together.

The Internet can also provide many opportunities for children of all ages who are looking for new things to read. Book Adventure is a free, Sylvan-created, interactive, reading, motivation program that can be found online at Parents and children can choose books from more than 7,000 titles, take short comprehension quizzes and redeem accumulated points for small prizes. Book Adventure also offers teacher and parent resources and tips to help children develop a lifelong love of reading.

For additional tips on instilling the joy of reading, helping children understand math and making learning a fun family endeavor, visit For more information about Sylvan, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit Sylvan Richmond also offers a discount on initial registration for Savvy Saver Cardholders, click here to get yours free!

Brady Zizzo is the area manager at the Richmond’s Sylvan Learning, the leading provider of in-center and live, online tutoring at home to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. With approximately 30 years of experience and nearly 1,200 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan’s proven process and personalized methods have inspired more than 2 million students to discover the joy of learning. Sylvan’s trained and certified personal instructors provide individual instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan helps transform unique kids into uniquely inspired learners with the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else. For more information, call 1-800-31-SUCCESS or visit