Reading to your children is crucial to their educational growth. Many of us were even reading to our unborn children while they were still safely inside the womb.
Hey there! You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some quick and dirty tips for practical parenting. Today’s Topic: What’s in a Letter?
Tips for Encouraging Early Literacy
Reading to your children is crucial to their educational growth. Many of us were even reading to our unborn children while they were still safely inside the womb. Maybe we were just reading to our bellies, but I’ve heard that the babies can actually hear us. I certainly believe that reading to your children is both fun and educational. I think as our children grow, we need to adjust our reading styles to grow with them. There are a few things parents can do along the way to help promote good reading skills in their children before kindergarten has even begun.
The most obvious thing we can do to encourage good reading habits in our children is to read to them. You should read to your children daily. As babies, they might be more likely to wave a hand at the book or try to put it in their mouths. This is normal and should not stop you from trying. You might consider giving the baby a soft book to hold while you read to him from another. I always enjoyed reading with my daughter during her “tummy time.” I would place her on the floor and put the soft books down in front of her so she could look at the pictures. I would then describe the images and talk to her about the books. This may not have had a huge effect on her reading skills, but she did begin to associate the books with our bonding sessions and would choose those to play with more than any other toys.
Adding New Words
Once your child has reached the toddler stage where he’s beginning to talk or at least try to talk, reading will take on a much bigger role. Picture books can become a toddler’s best friend. I currently have a toddler who is adding new words to his vocabulary on a daily basis. We have one giant picture book full of animals, foods, household objects, vehicles, and many other objects he might see in a normal day. We spend a great deal of time reading this book. It may not be the type of story reading you expect to have with your child, but it’s a great beginning. As we point to the objects, we say the words. He will point to the picture while I run my finger along the length of the word in the book. He may not notice it just yet, but I’m helping him to associate the object with the letters below it.
When you are reading a story to a child, he will probably ask for the same story repeatedly. You can use the same method of pointing to the words while you read. You should still stop and discuss the pictures and ask questions to engage the child along the way, but as you are reading the story word for word, pointing to the words will let the child know where the words are coming from. It’s a concept that takes some time to grasp. A child who can associate words with the letters on the paper is going to have a better understanding of how reading is accomplished.