Are you feeling pressured by to-do lists that will help you raise the ideal child? Your head may be swirling from play date schedules, selecting the right educational program, starting that college savings fund, or developing a well-rounded child through a variety of after school sports. Oh, and donʼt forget about proper nutrition and rest for your growing student!
Fortunately, helping your child learn to love reading can be one of the more enjoyable and relaxing tasks of parenthood. Imagine curling up with a fun, colorful book and turning the thick, glossy pages with your child. Sharing a story provides a break from hurried lives, creates a memorable family ritual, opens the door to imagination, and builds those all-important reading and language skills. Amazingly, all that can be accomplished in a relaxing ten minutes a day!
To get started on your unhurried literary journey, head to your favorite local bookstore or library. If you need help selecting intriguing, age-appropriate books, ask the bookseller or librarian to point you in the right direction. Better yet, begin by sharing your childhood favorites!
Finding the Right Books
Finding the right books for your child can make a huge difference in his or her interest and enjoyment level. A good books will:
•Interest your child.
•Provide fun, vibrant, and interesting illustrations.
•Have predictable or rhyming text.
•Teach ABCs, counting, shapes, or other basic identiﬁcation skills.
•Include simple sight words such as “the”, or “I”.
•Display more illustration than text per page.
Learning From A Read Aloud
Incredibly, a childʼs mind is a sponge. Children learn quite a bit from hearing and watching you read a book aloud. Many of these skills are crucial to developing language and literacy skills. Some of the skills that your child can learn include:
•Print has meaning.
•Each spoken word corresponds to a printed word.
•One reads from left to right, top to bottom.
•Ability to identify the front and back of the book.
•Expansion of vocabulary.
•Attuned ear to rhyme and rhythm of language.
•Make predictions based on the illustrations.
•Recite patterned sentences such as, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?”
•Retell the story in his/her own words using a beginning, middle, and end.
•Identify common words such as “I, the, or me”.
Fun Read Aloud Tips:
By creating a special and memorable event, your child will look forward to reading. Try a few of these tips to keep reading fresh and fun:
• Use character voices and read with animation.
• Reenact the story through a play or puppet show.
• Let your child “read” a familiar story to you in his or her own words.
• While reading aloud, pause and let your child make predictions about what will happen next.
• Play games after a read aloud. Search for rhyming words, familiar sight words, or how many letter “bʼs” you can ﬁnd on one page.
• Be caught making a mistake. Start reading upside down or backwards. Will your child notice?
• Change the names of the characters to friends and family members.
• Occasionally listen and read-along to a books on CD.
• Use “reading glasses”. Find some jazzy plastic kidʼs sunglasses and pop out the plastic lenses. Decorate them with glitter and stickers. Wear them with pride during read-aloud time.
• Stop reading while your child is having fun. He or she will be eager to begin again another day!
A few daily minutes invested in reading to and with your child will reap a large yield. Your child will not view reading as another task to check off the list, but as a pleasurable pastime. This is especially true when your child observes you engrossed in a good book. When your child watches you read it sets the ultimate example and allows you a few moments of relaxing escapism. How many tasks will allow you to take a break and set a good example? Now, thatʼs something Iʼll gladly add to my to-do list!