It is easy to get lost in a sea of technology that is out there. When I was growing up there were no kindles, smart phones, laptops, or tablets. With the reading levels in the state of Michigan decreasing, it is hard not to wonder why??? Is it this booming technology? Did we lose the importance of a good old fashioned book?
A new study found that young children whose parents read to them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 MILLION more words than kids who were never read to. That’s a lot of words and all before kindergarten. Reading to children at an early age promotes growth in all these areas:
- Listening and Comprehension
- Phonological Awareness
- Alphabetic knowledge
- Book enjoyment & knowledge
All in all I think we can all agree, READING IS IMPORTANT! Whether you are reading a Facebook post, or in the middle of a novel, or simply driving to work, or you are reading. Reading is how you learn about the world, explore through imagination, and develop your mind. The same goes for the young ones. Infant, toddler, ‘threenager’ you name it, they all grow each and every time you read a book to them!
So what does that look like? What can I do at home? What is my child gaining from this experience? Check out these tips and tricks…
- It always grabs a babies attention when you are animated and smiling! Start there!
- Hold them and let them know that reading time is a time they are held and loved.
- Name animals and make the sounds they make.
- Let them lift the flaps and see what is hiding underneath.
- Name a picture that they are pointing at, this gives the word’s meaning.
- Repeat books that they like or show interest in.
- Create a reading routine! This could be at bed time, after dinner, or even in the morning.
- Choose books that help teach them social concepts. (ex. ‘No Biting’ ‘Everyone Poops’)
- Sing the alphabet song and point to letters.
- Point out numbers and colors.
- Let them turn the page (even if it is backwards).
- Allow them to choose the book, this shows repeated interest and promotes their love for books.
3 & Up:
- Try out books that reflect your daily routine or situations at home. (ex. Llama Llama Misses Mama)
- Take a walk around your local library and see what they choose, follow their interest.
- Emphasize rhyming words and words that begin with the same sound.
- Point out who the book was written by and who drew the pictures. (Author & Illustrator)
- Ask questions, let your child make predictions about what’s going to happen next or what is happening on that page.
- Point and read, this teaches children that you read from left to right.
Here at LT we recognize the importance of reading to young children, not only during ‘March is Reading Month’ but all year long. Each and every classroom has two scheduled ‘Read Aloud’ times within their HighScope daily routine. That is two guaranteed books, plus the usual unscheduled book time… that’s three books right there! Just two more and your child can enter kindergarten having heard 1.4 million more words. That’s pretty amazing right there! When you read a book to your child, you not only open up the door to new words, but also new experiences, new stories, and new heights!