The ability to read well is key to learning. Good readers can open up the entire world to themselves by merely opening a book. Helping your children to become good readers is a wonderful gift — it will help them to do well at school and to become lifelong learners.
Make Reading Part of Your Daily Routine
Establish a love of reading when you first bring your newborn home from the hospital. Long before they are old enough to comprehend the stories, your baby will love the time spent snuggled up with you, looking at the pictures, and listening to the sound of your voice as you read the words.
Make reading as much a part of your daily routine as baths and mealtimes. Try to set aside a set time to read, say after dinner or at bedtime. Children do well when they know what to expect, so establishing a reading habit will be comforting to your baby.
Picture books and books with very simple stories or rhymes are great first choices. Babies and toddlers often enjoy repetitive rhythm, so choose a few books with a sing-song feel to them.
Bright, colorful pictures will help to hold your child’s interest as you read, especially when they are very young and their attention span is somewhat short.
As your baby matures a bit, involve him in your reading by asking him to point to objects. Saying things like, “Where is the red truck?” will help them to be a part of the storytelling.
In time, you will be able to ask your child what they expect to happen next in the story before turning the page.
Make Reading Fun
Be sure to make reading time fun and relaxing. Choose a comfortable spot such as a big, soft chair, your child’s bed, or under a backyard shade tree to sit with your child and read.
Make the stories come alive by making silly faces and using unique voices for different characters. Soon, your child will have a few favourite books that they will request over and over.
Try to provide books on a variety of subjects to keep it interesting and to spark your child’s curiosity. Visit your local library and enlist the help of the librarian for suggestions on popular books.
If you can remember the titles of a few of your childhood favorites, bring them home to share with your child.
As your child grows, ask him to read to you. In the beginning, he will merely recite passages that he has memorized, but over time, you will establish a routine of taking turns and reading to each other.
As your child’s interests broaden, include books on new topics. Those about hobbies, sports, athletics, gardening, cooking, music, travel, and history are all good choices.
Using Books to Stimulate
Help your children to create their own books. Make up stories with your children (one good way is to take turns every few sentences so that the story has some interesting twists and turns) and write them down.
Once you have written the text, have your children add a few drawings and then bind the pages together. You can take the pages into an office supply store to have them professionally bound or you can simply punch holes along one edge and tie with yarn. These books are sure to become keepsakes!
Use the books that you are reading with your child to start conversations. Sometimes awkward subject matter can be a bit easier to approach by talking about the moral dilemma that a character faces.
Often, even when children are at an age to be unwilling to share much about their personal experiences, they are comfortable talking about those same experiences in regards to a fictional character.
As your child gets older, many of the books that they will enjoy will be too long to read in one sitting. It works well to read a chapter or two each day or read for a set amount of time.
Very often, children who are good readers have parents who love to read. Let your child see you reading for pleasure — books, magazines and newspapers.
Show them that the love of reading is a lifetime thing.