Most parents want to raise a reader, but truly instilling a love of reading and teaching effective early literacy skills can be tricky. That’s why starting right from day one is key. Here are a few ways parents can plant the seeds for a love of reading in their child’s first few years:
? Sing, read books out loud and talk to your little one throughout the day, describing what you’re doing and seeing, to develop early language skills.
? Incorporate reading throughout your child’s day—not just at bedtime (while eating snacks, playing, taking a bath, using the bathroom, etc.)
? Create a print-rich environment (ABCs as decorations, magnet letters, label toys…)
? Have special reading events: flashlight reading, act out stories in books with costumes, play librarian, etc.
? Let your child pick out books at home, in the store and at the library
? Take your child to get his/her “own” library card and attend library story hour and other reading-related events
? Play rhyming games
? Robot Talk (say sounds that make up a word, sound-by-sound (like a robot) and have your child guess what the word is, e.g., “/B/-/U/-/G/” (bug), “/K/-/I/-/K/” (kick), “/U/-/P/” (up).
? Model the love of reading by reading yourself around your children!
? Design a special reading area with your child.
In order to create and keep a positive association with reading, it should always be fun and never be forced upon a child or used as punishment. It is extremely important to follow a child’s lead and look for clues as to when he/she is not enjoying reading activities.