Tell me what you’re reading is one of my favorite questions to ask kids. Amazingly – I have yet to hear the word “nothing.” Sometimes, however, a younger child may struggle to answer, SO – I have learned to ask “Have you heard any good books lately?” The following question is; “Who did you hear them from?” Little kids may not be able to decipher print, but the real meaning of reading is having the ability to attach meaning to the printed word.
Teaching toddlers to read is really about teaching them that reading books is fun. How do you achieve that? Simple – by modeling the behavior. Research has shown that the size of the home library has a significant effect on educational attainment. The journal, Research In Social Stratification Mobility, reported that “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books.
Below are a few tips to encourage early interest in books:
- Have books available – family room, bedroom, bathroom, and car are some great places to keep books.
- Find a minute or two for yourself, but make sure “someone” is watching, and sit down with a book or magazine.
- Encourage your little one to sit with you and read along.
- Use your finger to track as you read, and make the left to right sweep.
- Turn pages carefully and talk about what you have read. Like “hmm , I really like the story I’m reading, I wonder what will happen next.”
Before you know it, “someone” will be doing the same thing.
Ask your oldest child to read a story to a younger brother or sister. Siblings reading to each other is a wonderful experience for both of them. The older one can read to the younger one and feel good about bei ng the grown-up for the moment. The younger one will enjoy the attention and the story. Both kids will benefit from the message that reading is special. Oh, by the way, even if the “older” one can’t really read the words and makes up the story as they go along, that, too, is special and can help to develop a love or reading.