Fluent reading is hands down the most important skill a person can learn. Once you can read well and easily the whole world of knowledge opens up before your eyes. If you can read, you can learn anything.
Reading aloud to our kids is part of our every day. Our kids also read to us and on their own. Some of our kiddos are voracious readers and others are reluctant. Some easily picked it up and others struggled with dyslexia. No matter what their situation though, we've taught all of our children to read a lot and well, because it's the best gift we can give them. Here's to bookworms everywhere!
Learning to read doesn't end with decoding words and the mechanics of language. Reading is also about understanding and critical thinking. So learning to read includes learning how to analyze written language and how to choose what is worth reading (for you) in the first place.
Book projects are a favorite part of our homeschool. They are basically just book reports minus the boring. We have our kids choose a book, read it, and then present it in a fun way.
THINKING ABOUT BOOKS
Some reading we do is for entertainment, some is for information, and some is to make us think. But thinking is hard work, it's a muscle that has to be trained and exercised. You wouldn't expect a person who had never picked up a ball to be able to throw and catch one correctly. Neither should you expect a child who isn't taught to think to know how to think.
The best way we know to teach thinking is by asking questions we expect kids to answer on their own. We do this with math all the time. We teach kids how to do the problems, but then we force them to actually do the problems on their own. This should be done with reading as well. Demonstrate analyzing literature (or the daily news, or a commercial on TV, or the content of a text book), then ask questions about your child's reading that must be answered.