Children who have had an opportunity to be read to every day and take the time to read on their own every day will become readers. Readers are people who DO read -- NOT just people who can read!
It is very important to your child's reading development that your child practice reading consistently on a daily basis. Did you know that if your child is reading just 20 minutes a day for one year, he/she will be exposed to one million words as well as increase spelling, grammar and writing skills?? A minimum of 15 minutes a night should be spent with your child reading a book that he/she chooses. If the book your child chooses to read is too difficult for him/her to read then please take the opportunity to read the book aloud to your child. Keep in mind that a child will choose a book to read based on interest. It is this interest in topics that will inspire and motivate a child to work hard to read the materials independently.
A general rule used to determine whether a book is too difficult to read is called the "five finger rule". Have your child read the first page of the book he/she chose to read. Each time your child comes to a word he/she does not know they put up a finger. If by the end of the first page your child has 5 fingers up then the book is too challenging at this time. Encourage your child to choose another book to read. You may want to read the more difficult book aloud to your child if they really would like to read it.