Parents are a child’s first teacher, and there are many simple things you can do every day to share the joy of reading while strengthening your child’s literacy skills.
- Read from day one. Start a reading routine in those very first days with a newborn. Even very young babies respond to the warmth of a lap and the soothing sound of a book being read aloud.
- Share books every day.Read with your child every day, even after he becomes an independent reader.
- Reread favorites. Most children love to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Rereading books provides an opportunity to hear or see something that may have been missed the first time, and provides another chance to hear a favorite part.
- Send positive messages about the joys of literacy. Your own interest and excitement about books will be contagious!
- Visit the library early and often. Public libraries are great resources for books, helpful advice about authors and illustrators, story times, and more. Make visiting the library part of your family’s routine.
- Find the reading and writing in everyday things.Take the time to show your child ways that adults use reading and writing every day. Grocery lists, notes to the teacher, maps, and cooking all involve important reading and writing skills.
- Give your reader something to think and talk about. There are many different types of books available to readers. Vary the types of books you check out from the library, and seek out new subjects that give you and your reader something to think and talk about.
- Talk, talk, talk. A child’s vocabulary grows through rich conversations with others. No matter your child’s age, narrate what you’re doing, talk in full sentences, and sprinkle your conversations with interesting words.
- Know your stuff. Parents don’t need to be reading specialists, but it is important to understand the basics about learning to read.
- Speak up if something doesn’t feel right. Parents are often the first ones to recognize a problem. If you have concerns about your child’s development, speak with your child’s teacher and your pediatrician. It’s never too early to check in with an expert.
Look for new books and authors that your child may enjoy.
Organize an area dedicated to reading and writing tools. Visit the library for story time and book recommendations.
Encourage your child to talk about what he’s read.
Talk to your child, and sprinkle interesting words into your conversation.
Offer a variety of books to read.
Read with your child every day.
Expand your home library to include magazines and nonfiction. Ask questions if you’re concerned about your child’s development. Decide to raise a reader!
Original article published in Reading Rockets