Set an example for you child by reading
Good reading skills are critically important in a child’s education and parents can help the school develop these skills in many ways. Following are some suggestions that may be of value for parents:
• Serve as a good model for your child. How much time do you, as parents, spend reading in the presence of your child versus watching television, talking on the phone or pursuing other non reading related activities?
• Start reading to your child in their infancy. Snuggle up at bedtime with a good children’s story, pick out a time right after they awaken from their nap and read a story to them while their fresh and alert. Don’t read too long and notice for signs of restlessness and diminishing interest. Parents can increase the child’s attention span and the interest in reading by gradually increasing the amount of time they spend reading to the child.
• As soon as your child is old enough to read, let them read to you or their siblings. Grandparents can be excellent listeners and encourage the child’s reading skills by active and positive listening.
• Take your child to bookstores and explore the children’s section. Have reading parties for your child where other children are invited to hear someone dressed as a storybook character read a book. Someone dress as a clown can read a circus story, a make believe ranch hand can read a story about horses and a look alike pirate can make a Robert Louis Stephenson story come alive.
• Take your child to the library and get them their own library card as early as possible. A trip to the children’s section on a Saturday afternoon can become a great treat for both the child and the parent. Many libraries have special programs to encourage young readers develop their reading skills.
• Teach your child to respect books by keeping them on a shelf instead of on the floor, under the bed or in a toy box with toys.
• Begin to develop your child’s writing skills by encouraging them to write short stories and then bind them in a homemade book, keep them in a notebook and then share the material with friends and family.
• Be patient and willing to explain words that your child may not understand. This helps build for vocabulary skills and helps the child develop a love for learning about what new words mean. Respect the child’s personal preferences and allow them to make choices about the books they want to read.
• Give books as gifts and encourage the child to buy books for their siblings and family when special occasions occur.
• Encourage your child to sharpen their skills in visual imagery by closing their eyes and telling you how the characters feel, what a soft bunny fur feel like to the touch, how the soft grass feels beneath their feet, etc.
Give your child one of the greatest most valuable gifts in life, the love of reading.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright 1999