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Start Early: Raising a Reader

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: child care services and preschool education by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

According to decades of meticulous research, being introduced to books at an early age is one key factor in enjoying success in later scholastic activities. When a child’s parents read to him, beginning at a very young age and continuing through his childhood, he has a better chance of succeeding in grade school when he gets older.

When should you start reading to your child? Experts say that no age is too early to begin introducing your child to the world of books. You can begin reading to your age while he is still a baby – or even while he is still in the womb. For very little ones, be sure to animate the text, describe the pictures, and go about the activity in an exaggerated, expressive, and very personalized way.

If you want your child to be an active reader when he gets older, setting aside time to explore books together while he is still young is essential. This should not be a time of study but rather a time to enjoy the vast, captivating worlds that reading can open up to us. Tailor this time to your child and his likes and dislikes. It’s important that your child learns to enjoy reading so make it fun for him right from the beginning.

The books that you choose to read with your child play a key role in how enjoyable and engaging this time of early-age reading is. Choose books that your child feels chemistry with and that speak to him on his level. Great books have memorable, colorful pictures as well as text that is unpretentious and carries a great cadence. Because you’ll be doing most of the reading to your child, it’s important to select books that you can enjoy as well. Your child will feel your excitement as you connect with the book and explore it with him. Because children tend to be intense fans of repetitive reading, you will probably be seeing a great deal of any books you bring home, so make sure to only choose ones that you will not tire of easily.

Here are some fun tips that can help you connect with your young child in the world of literature and construct a reading-friendly environment in your home that is both entertaining and interesting. These tips will help you to create the right foundation that will lead to an interest in and enjoyment of reading in your child’s later life.

Make there are plenty of books on all kinds of subjects available to your child
Have daily reading times with him, and promote imaginative participation
Strategically place a few of your child’s favorite titles in your car for long journeys or traffic
Once he is in school, get his teacher to regularly recommend to you a few titles that go along with things he is learning in the classroom; these can be bought or borrowed from the library and perused together back at home for great classroom solidarity
As your child gets older, he will want to act as if he is reading his favorite titles out loud even before he can actually read them. Whether or not he gets the story exactly right, this is a great sign as it shows that he is beginning to understand that these funny rectangular objects are meant to tell tales.

It’s important for children to understand how communication works, and parents who communicate regularly with their children facilitate their language abilities. Parents who read with their children further reinforce their language abilities, building up an understanding of written language and stories. Reading to your child will help to create a supportive environment where his brain can flourish and grow, so start reading to your child as soon as possible!

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