Raise A Child That Loves To Read!

I just recently became new friends with Dan Gilbert, an advocate for balanced learning and communications coordinator for Primrose Schools. I absolutely love his insightful tips, tricks and tools for teaching children in and out of the home and classroom! So when he offered to guest post today, I jumped at the chance! I hope you enjoy his article and please check out more about balanced learning at www.primroseschools.com!

Raise a Child That Loves to Read
by Dan Gilbert

Parents often wonder when they should begin reading to their children. No longer is reading associated with school-aged children, but children of all ages. Research shows that introducing books at an early age is one of the fundamental building blocks to a child’s literacy and success in school. In fact, the more books your little one has in her bookcase, the better for his or her academic future. It’s never too early to start reading to your child, even if he or she is still in the womb. Being read to allow a young child to hear the basic sounds of the English language and begin making these connections early on.

If you want to raise an active reader, the process must start at home. Robert Needlman, M.D., author of 
Dr. Spock’s Baby Basics and member of the Education Advisory Board for Primrose Schools; the Leader in Education Child Care, suggests that one of the most important things about nurturing a reader is to read with a child from a very early age.  You can start reading to your child at any age, although you will notice your infant taking more of an interest around six months. Start by introducing basic picture books to your child and point to different objects. You don’t have to read what the books say; instead, make the story interesting by personalizing it with your child’s name or other significant people in her life.

Most importantly, don’t think that there is a special set of rules you have to follow. The goal is to sit down and create a bonding experience with your child that is enjoyable for the two of you. You may want to pick the same time each day, just be sure that the story time is relaxing and not rushed through. This will show your child that reading is something to be enjoyed.

Choosing the right books is also important, so look for titles that are interesting and age-appropriate for your child. Generally speaking, the best books will have bright illustrations and simple language. It’s usually these basic books that are the favorites of young children. It’s also a good idea to choose books that you’ll enjoy as well. Kids love repetition, and this is how they learn to speak themselves, so you can expect to read the story multiple times. The more the story comes to life for you, the more animated and fun you can make it. Of course, the curiosity your child will exhibit will be enough to make you fall in love with reading all over again.

Try these simple tips that will help you create a rewarding, nurturing environment for your budding reader.

- Surround your child with a wide range of books. Keep several books in the bedroom and playroom so your child has access. Also encourage different types of books such as those on colors, letters, the weather or sharing.

- Read with your child from the time her or she an infant. Let them touch the pictures, repeat sounds and participate in the story.

- Place books in areas where your child may be waiting such as in the car or at the kitchen table.

- Connect with your child’s teacher by asking for a list of books the students are reading, or ones that relate to what the children are learning about. This is a wonderful opportunity to read with your child at night, while reflecting on the day’s experiences.

- You may notice older children wanting to read aloud and re-telling the story in their own words. This is a milestone in literacy development and shows that the child is making the right connections. Instead of being the reader, listen to your child and show the same interest that he or she’s given you in the past years. 

It's no surprise that infants have a natural curiosity for language development. Foster this interest by singing, talking and reading with your child today.

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