Parents are the most important educators in a child’s life – even more important than their teacher and it is never too early to start reading together.
First and foremost, reading must begin at an early age. Children should not only be read to as infants and toddlers, but should be able to touch, see, and explore books of their own. As children grow and develop, reading at home should be a consistent every day activity that the whole family experiences.
Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as reading words. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a wide range of words. This helps them to build on their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read.
Important Steps Parents Can Take to Promote Reading:
- Expose your child to books as an infant.
- Demonstrate how important reading is and how much you appreciate it by reading in front of your child – you must set the example.
- Establish a time of day when everyone in the family reads.
- Create a reading area in your child’s bedroom – this also encourages your child to take care of his/her books.
- Read to your child. Set a time or routine where you read aloud to your child, even if they are older.
- Allow your child to read to you – even if your child does not know how to read yet, encourage them to “read” their favourite book to you. This enhances language development and accesses early reading skills.
The Power of Reading:
Reading involves more than picking up a book and speaking the words on the page. Reading must encompass understanding and development of knowledge.
- Before reading a story ask your child questions, such as: What do you think this book is about? Why do you think this? Which book would you like to read today? Why? Where would you like to read this book? What do you see on the front and back covers?
- During reading ask your child specific questions about the text, such as: What do you think will happen next? Ask your child to re-tell some key elements of the book. You could encourage your child to use the pictures to help them understand and sound out words if they are finding them difficult.
- After reading have a discussion: Does this book remind you of something that has happened to you? Did you enjoy this book? Why or why not? Did you have a favourite part to this book?
Learning how to read and fostering a love for reading can be a challenge. Remember to celebrate your child’s accomplishments in reading by praising and encouraging your child.