Read, Read, Read…..and Read Some More!
Reading opens up the world for your child…..our goal is 1000 books before kindergarten!!
Bath time is over, p.j.s are on, your little one is on your lap and you snuggle your nose into their sweet smelling cheek. The craziness of the day begins to melt away. You open the familiar book and your toddler snuggles into your lap. What a precious ritual, and not only precious but so incredibly valuable. With that moment, you may have just helped your child get into Harvard…well at least become a good reader.
What is the best way to encourage your child to become a reader? What can you do now to prepare your child for school…and even college? It is very simple….read, read, and read some more. There is no better way to encourage a child to love reading, help them succeed in school, and improve language skills than to read to them. I think I can still recite The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Some of my most treasured moments were spent with my children on my lap, reading a story. Moments is the key word. When we are reading to young children, the reading is often in very short bursts. Reading a total of 20 to 30 minutes a day is recommended but that may be divided into several short periods. Having a “reading routine” before naps or at bedtime is a great way to incorporate “cuddle time” with your child and the benefits of reading. You might even try “reading your child awake”. Some children wake from a nap a little grumpy, reading to them until they are fully awake makes it easier on you and them! Here are some tips to keep your young child interested in reading.
- Toddlers have an opinion! Give them a choice of what stories they want. Often you might read the same books over and over. Toddlers love repetition. Soon your child will be able to “read” the book to you!
- Allow your toddler to handle the books. Books should be well-loved. Keep baskets of books out so your child can go to them whenever they are interested. A basket next to their potty is a great way to keep them entertained while potty training!
- Read with drama. Be silly. Change your voice. Use puppets or hand motions. Children love interaction.
- Talk about the pictures. It isn’t important to read all the words on a page! Don’t be surprised if your child realizes that you have left parts out of a familiar story though! They will catch you! This shows that they are learning!
- Ask open-ended questions. Let your child tell you the story!
- Never force reading. Many toddlers do not have the attention span to finish a book. Read a few pages and leave the book open. You may find your toddler will come back to it later. Let your child play while you read. Read an active story together that they participate in too.
- Take trips to your local library often. Allow your child to become comfortable in the library. Participate in Story Times offered at the library. These are free and great resources for parents and children!
- Set a good example. Turn off the TV and let your child see that you love reading too. Check out a book from the library for you too!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.