Tips for Raising A Reader
Books can be a great way to spend time with your child, while nurturing their natural curiosity. Raising a reader often begins in infancy. It is a skill that can carry your child throughout their lifetime.
Raising a Reader: Infants and Toddlers
Even though they can't understand everything you say quite yet, reading to your infant can be the beginning of forming a healthy love for the written word. Try carving out 10 to 15 minutes at least two to three times per week for storytime. Most parents find it helpful to incorporate reading into their bedtime routine. Many parents will also stash books in the car or in their purse to pull out, for example, when waiting in line at the store. Keeping books accessible to your child is a great way to foster a love for reading.
For younger children, cloth books are ideal. Giving your child a cloth book at an early age helps them learn to manipulate objects. They learn that pages turn and that pictures can be upside down as well as right side up. When reading to younger children, it is important to react to the story. Take a moment to point out pictures, comment on similarities between the pictures in the book and things in your own environment. This not only keep your child engaged, but also helps to build cognitive skills.
Raising a Reader: Preschoolers
By the time your child is preschool age, they are ready to learn a little more about the mechanics of reading. When reading to your child, pointing to each word as you read can help them to understand that the little marks on the page convey the story. They also learn that reading occurs from left to right.
Now that your child is old enough to converse, begin to ask questions about the story and to talk about the pictures in the book. Asking questions such as, "what do you think will happen next?" can also help with cognitive functioning. You may find that your child enjoys reading the same books again and again. This is an important step in development and should not be avoided. Children at this age may also begin to pretend to read to you. Many kids will memorize the wording of books before they can actually read the words.
Raising a Reader: School-aged Children
Once your child reaches kindergarten and first grade they will start to sound out words and sounds. They may even begin to read simply books at this point. To further encourage this love of reading, try choosing books with rhyming text. Provide your child with books on the things that he or she likes. Making reading fun is the best way to encourage a continued love of books.
Even though your child is well on their way to reading books on their own, continue to read to them as well. Children often enjoy listening to stories and it is a great way to bond with your child. Nurturing your child's love of reading will greatly enrich their lives and their learning for may years to come.