oct. 6, 2014
If you love to read, it's likely you hope that passion will be
passed on to your children. You can play an important part in
creating an eager reader before they ever step into a school
classroom. More than just an enjoyable hobby, reading is the key to
success in school and life. It is critical — yes, that's a strong
word — that you encourage a desire to read in your children now, and
work with them to build a strong foundation of literacy skills
before they enter school.
Numerous studies confirm the benefits for children whose
parents read to them between the ages of two and five. Improved
thinking and communication skills, mastery of language, enhanced
concentration and imagination, and improved parent/child
relationships are all positive outcomes from reading together
But most importantly, early reading sets the stage for academic
excellence. According to multiple studies, students exposed to
reading in their early years are more likely to do well in all
facets of their education. The ability to use words and sentences
helps not only with English language arts, but also in grasping
math, science and social concepts in elementary school.
So, what can you do with your toddler or preschooler
to encourage, motivate and excite them about words and reading?
- Word play is fun. Rhyming and word games, singing silly
songs, or writing poems and stories together are great
activities that build a love for words.
- Talk about your daily experiences and encourage story
telling in your family. This helps children strengthen their
- Let young children see you reading. Show them how people
use reading all the time by reading newspapers, street signs,
store signs, billboards, menus and package labels aloud.
- Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers
and sisters. Maybe the whole family can spend time reading
- Your local librarian can be your best friend. Visit often.
Get your kids their own library cards, and allow children to
pick the books they want to read. Take advantage of free
programs and story hours designed for your child's age range.
- Create a home library. You can find affordable books at
yard sales, library book sales and secondhand bookstores. Lots
of people happily pass along books that their children have
outgrown. Ask your friends. Set up a place in your home where
several options for reading are within your child's easy
- Encourage writing by providing paper, crayons and an
appropriate place to scribble and draw.
Carry books with you everywhere. Help your child discover that
reading is a perfect way to pass the time. Going for a ride?
Check out books on tape to listen to on the road.
- There are several magazines designed to appeal to early
learners. Consider a subscription as a gift, and read it
together every month. Weekly Reader, National Geographic
Little Kids, Highlights Hello (toddlers), Highlights High Five
(ages 2-6), Baby Bug, Zootles, Ranger Rick Junior and Sesame
Street are a few of dozens of publications designed for
Once your child starts showing interest in reading and books,
a book, gift certificate or a trip to the bookstore makes a
Between the Lions website for more on
children and reading.
Children's Reading Foundation offers advice
for parents and caregivers on how to build strong reading
skills in their children.
U. S. Department of Education offers a long
list of reading resources.
Help for struggling readers can be found at
Library of Congress online is packed with
resources for parents and children of all ages.
Read.gov especially focuses on developing
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