The ultimate goal of learning how to read is to build understanding. It is important to provide opportunities to read aloud to your child and inspire him or her to practice every day. Here are some tips to make reading time with your child an enjoyable and educational experience:
- Read with expression. Use humor and transform your voice to sound like the Big Bad Wolf or whisper when the character does.
- Know when to stop. Young children can sometimes have a short attention span. Label the pictures and imitate the actions of the characters for a more interactive experience until your child can sit for a whole book.
- Allow your child to choose the books. This will build confidence and independence.
- Read and repeat. Encourage your child to read books several times. This increases speed and accuracy when older children read and it teaches younger children how a book works.
- Listen. Take turns reading aloud with your child. This can be a special time shared with a family member.
- Choose appropriate books to set your child up for success. Babies and toddlers need sturdy board books with lots of pictures and little text. As your child begins to read on his or her own, find out your child’s reading level from a teacher and help him or her choose books at the appropriate level.
- Keep books available. Put books on a low shelf or in a basket on the floor so a child can use them independently.
- Read yourself. Let your child see you reading things you enjoy whether it’s a magazine, newspaper or book.
- Talk about books. Ask your child about what he or she is reading. This will help with understanding of a story and the ability to correctly predict what’s coming next.
- Most importantly, have fun! Reading should be an enjoyable experience shared between you and your child.
What is your favorite book to read to your child and why?
Early Experience Matters. Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. <http://www.zerotothree.org>