If you are a parent of young children, you may be wondering about the role reading should play in your child’s daily routine. After all, most kids don’t become independent readers until they reach elementary school. However, that doesn’t mean that parents should wait until their children are school-age to emphasize the importance of literacy. It is never too early to teach your child the value of reading! Red Apple Reading has some helpful hints for developing literacy skills in each stage of early childhood development.
- Start Reading Day One! – Don’t feel silly reading aloud to your newborn. He may not understand what you are saying, but he is enjoying hearing your voice and having a cuddle. Eventually he will begin to associate reading with these things and consequently develop positive feelings about books!
- Buy Baby-Friendly Books – Does it seem like your baby spends more time chewing on her book than looking at it? This is completely normal! Babies learn about their world by exploring it orally -“What does this taste like?”, “This is soft”, “This is hard!”, “This is cold”, etc. At this stage, books should be made of durable material (think board, plastic, or cloth) and easy to clean. When reading material is baby-friendly, mom doesn’t have to worry about her little one tearing pages or ruining the book with drool!
- Model Reading – It’s important for little ones to not only be read to, but to also see the adults in their lives reading! If Mommy and Daddy are sitting down and reading a book, newspaper, or magazine, it must be a good thing to do!
- Bedtime Reading – Make sure to continue reading aloud to your older baby. Even if you don’t get to read every word because your toddler insists on turning the page, she will still get the benefit of being exposed to books. Reading before bedtime is a wonderful ritual. Listening to a book will help your toddler settle down for the evening and give Mom and Dad the opportunity to sneak in a snuggle!
- Play With Letters – When your child reaches the preschool stage, it’s time to begin learning letters. However, this doesn’t mean it’s time for mom to break out the flash cards and start quizzing junior! Preschoolers learn best through play. Fortunately, letter manipulatives for children are easy to find. Letter magnets for the refrigerator can be found at most any dollar store. Cookie cutters in the shape of letters can be used with PlayDough. Letters cut from old magazines can be used to make collages. As your kiddo plays with letters he will become familiar with them and learn to identify them.
- Choose Educational Shows – The amount of screen time for preschoolers should be limited. When they are allowed to watch television, choose programs that are engaging and have educational value. For instance, PBS offers a variety of programs that encourage children to read. WordGirl, Super WHY!, and Sesame Street are just a few shows that teach while entertaining.
- Read Aloud – So by now you’ve noticed that every stage of development has included being read aloud to. That’s not a mistake! When reading time is a priority in the daily schedule, kids will understand that reading is worthwhile! By the way, even when your kids start school and become independent readers, they will still enjoy being read to and you will still enjoy it too!
Red Apple Reading is dedicated to improving childhood literacy. Learning to value reading at a young age is a big part of developing that skill. Why not visit our website and learn more about our awesome on-line reading program? Even if your child is currently too young to enjoy its benefits, you can file it away for future reference!