Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Featured Friend Emily Patterson-How to Raise an Early Reader

How to Raise a Reader

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: early childhood education and child care services by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

People who want their children to enjoy reading and experience success in school should begin early to enjoy books together with them. It has long been borne out by research studies that children who are read to on a regular basis have a great advantage in acquiring academic skills. Even reading to a child before birth helps to develop the parent-child bond and the enjoyment of language. Establishing the habit as early as possible will help ensure that, as your child grows, you will take the time to enjoy books together.

The key word is "enjoy." Young infants will respond to the cadence and tone of a parent's voice long before they can understand the words being spoken to them. The experience of being cuddled and read to will start them on the road to acquiring language and learning that books communicate stories and that stories are endlessly entertaining.

When looking at books with very young children, begin by talking about the pictures. Also try some books with simple rhymes that help you develop a natural spoken rhythm to keep the child's attention. Choose books you yourself enjoy so that you can sink into the experience with the child. An animated reading with lots of changes in tone and cadence will help little ones listen and join in. Also, since young children love repetition, you will find yourself reading the same book many times. Choose one that you will want to share again and again.

To foster an early love for and understanding of literature, parents can follow these tips:

• Keep a variety of books on several topics at the child's age and ability level

• Set aside a time each day for enjoying books with children, beginning when they are infants

• Remember, it is never too early to start reading together

• Find ways for the child to participate in the story, such as providing sounds at the appropriate time or counting objects in pictures

• Allow children to help choose books to enjoy together

• Keep favorite books in the car to amuse children on long trips or in waiting rooms

• Get a list of books from the teacher to reinforce what is being learned in the classroom

• Make the library or book store a regular destination for yourself and your child

• Once a child has heard a favorite story time and again, let her "read" it to you when she is ready. She will turn the pages and usually re-tell the story

• Listen to what your child has to say about the book. He may make up an entirely different story, which is a major step in understanding literature.

• Always demonstrate a joy in reading and looking at books with your child

Enjoying language together with their parents helps children to develop their ability to communicate and learn about the world around them. Both talking and singing enable them to expand vocabulary and other language skills, which is one of the major tasks they will master as they grow up. Exploring the world of books with a supportive and engaged parent is an essential step in a child's cognitive development.

Not everyone can be a stage actress or direct a movie, but most parents have the innate ability to enjoy pictures, words and books with their children. Helping a child grow in understanding and love of books is one of the great joys of parenting. The earlier you start, the more fun and natural the journey will be. So get some favorite books and get started reading to your child. You'll be glad you did.

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