If you want to help your child become a good reader, the best thing you can do is read in front of your child. Let your child see you sit down to read a recipe, letter, magazine, journal, book, or whatever printed material you happen to have handy. Let your child notice you quietly enter the world of print, making meaning of the pictures and squiggles of text on the page. Soon, your child will want to enter that world, too.
Reading is part of the natural progression
You need to remember that reading is part of the natural progression of your relationship with your child. Before he was born, before he was able to see squiggles on a page, he heard a whole symphony of sounds from his position in the wombthe whoosh of blood circulating in mother’s body, the gurgle of her stomach, and voices, the voices of his parents!
An important role in your child’s development
Voices, words, and the meanings they express play an important role in your child’s development. From the time she is a newborn, just keep talking to her! Look into her eyes and murmur all kinds of special, loving words. Tell her how special she is to you. Talk to her about the care you are giving her: “I’m going to change your diaper now.” Add humming, songs, nursery rhymes, and games such as patty-cake for more verbal enrichment.
Verbally rich parenting behavior
Verbally rich parenting behavior says, “I care about you! Don’t worry. I’m going to help you understand your world.”
When your infant is fed and dry, he will watch quietly and contentedly as you talk and sing to him. Be bold or silly or dramatic. Babble and blow bubbles, sing songs, and recite rhymes.
Converse with him in his own language of coos and babbles. As he begins to smile, smile back.
As soon as you can, begin reading books to your child. You can start with simple board books that introduce such topics as the alphabet and numbers, shapes, lullabies, pictures, little stories, and much more.
Gather your child in your arms as you read
As she becomes skilled at sitting down, watch her first sit with her hands in front of her, then gradually move them parallel to her body. Soon she will be able to sit without using her hands for balance. At that point, let her hold her own board book. Let her turn the thick pages, trying to figure out top from bottom, front from back, as she manipulates and mouths the book.
Gather your child in your arms as you read to him. Let him hear your voice and feel your love as you explore the symphony of life together through books.
Sounds, words, rhythms, nursery rhymes, and songs cue your baby into language
Reading specialists tell us that sounds, words, rhythms, nursery rhymes, and songs cue your baby into language and its meanings and are part of Emergent Literacy Theory. That means you are already preparing your baby to be a reader and writer! Early clapping turns into later syllable clapping. The handling of board books helps your baby experience books as part of life. When nursery rhymes were declared politically incorrect for a time, educators found that more children came to school unprepared in pre-reading skills.
After learning how to sit, your child reaches many more milestones-crawling, scooting, walking, running, and potty training, for example. It is fun for your baby or toddler to see other children mastering these skills in books. Keep looking for books with big pictures and large print words.
Books are an asset for introducing new ideas
After learning to walk, children want to learn more about the larger world-house and yard, farms and zoos, children, and families. As they become toddlers and pre-schoolers, books are a great asset for introducing new ideas, new friends, mysteries, science, folk tales, poetry, holidays, everything!
Remember: Talking, singing, cuddling, reading books, and sharing are activities that help develop your child’s brain. As a parent, you play a critical role in preparing your child for a future of reading and writing. You can’t start too soon!
10 Reasons To Read To Your Baby
- Read to your baby, and he/she will associate your voice with warmth, comfort, and security.
- A restless baby can often be calmed by being held and read to in a soothing voice.
- Babies are entertained by nursery rhymes and simple songs.
- Holding your baby while reading to him/her will help create a close and loving bond between you.
- Your baby quickly makes an association between reading and being held.
- The pleasure of being held carries over to the enjoyment of hearing a story.
- Hearing stories helps your baby learn to listen.
- A baby who knows how to listen to sounds and words will soon try to imitate them.
- Imitating sounds is the way babies learn a language.
- Most important of all, reading to your baby is fun for both of you!