Foster a Love of Reading Right From the Start!

Children love language and communication long before the existence of printed words even crosses their minds. They start expressing themselves, right from the start. Read on to learn more about fostering a love of reading in your child at a young age.

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Reading aloud with a child is essential to her language development and builds a vital foundation for his future success as a reader. It's a magic moment when a child catches on to the connection between what his mother or father is saying and the words on the page of a book. With this awareness, parents, teachers, and caregivers can help engender in their children a life-long love of reading.

Read to Your Child Everyday

Schedule a time every day for reading. Aim for a time when you can fully available, without distractions. It's important to be relaxed and unhurried. If you have more than one child, you need to spend some time reading with each child separately. Older kids need a different kind of reading material and a different kind of interaction. If on a given day you can't fit in the reading session, bring books with you when you take your children along on errands. Even if they are left to explore the books on their own, the fact that you bring books shows the child the importance of reading to you.

Read and Re-Read

Be patient and read your child's favorites a few times, especially if he requests it specifically. Kids are new to stories and when something catches them they want to relive it over and over again. It's a rich, valuable experience for them and the story may be reaching them in a deep way. It's important to expose your child to other books, so keep offering him choices, but try not to get exasperated if he reaches for an old favorite several days in a row.

Read it Right

Take the time to read the story well. Children know the difference. If you read without enthusiasm your child will lose interest and probably feel like he's putting you out. If reading becomes a chore or - worse yet - a source of stress, it will have reverse the desired effect. It's not just what you read to children, but how you do the reading that matters. Stay creative, try to read with expression, even use different voices for the characters if you can. Pay attention to your pace and pause regularly to give your child time to take in the story and apply his imagination to the people and places. It's a good idea to ask questions as you go, to check in with your child. This will keep him engaged and encourage him to formulate ideas about the story.

Choosing the Right Book

Take seriously what your child tells you about the books he likes. You'll catch on pretty fast to his interests and you'll be able to guide his choices while respecting his tastes. Go to the library together. Let him respond to what he sees and hears and let him have a say in the decision. If you find a book that connects in a special way to your child's life - an upcoming birthday, a new sibling or potty training, for example - point it out and get him excited about it.

Build a Home Library

It's important to surround your children with reading material. They should always have something close at hand to pick up and look at when the feeling strikes. It's not hard to find used books at yard sales and bookstores. Think about collecting the classics; you might even discover a forgotten yearning in yourself for a long lost favorite. Give books a place of honor in your home. Teach your children to respect them and care for them.

Reading is a basic skill, one crucial to success in education. Strong reading skills make everything easier and alleviate a lot of unnecessary pressure when some other subject presents itself as a challenge. Children take to reading eagerly and naturally. They sense for themselves how important it is. A little encouragement of this natural curiosity goes a long way - and the child does all the real work. All you have to do is read.

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