By Sandy Fleming
"Will you please read to me?" This
question echoes through homes everywhere.
Too often, adults pass off this activity as being a frivolous
important than doing supper dishes or getting another load of
Far more than simply a way to occupy a bored child, reading out
loud is a
vital part of the process of learning to read! Children who are
early and often develop into more efficient readers and are more
become avid readers themselves. So all that's left is how to
begin. Here are
• Start Now!
Children begin to learn language at birth. Some experts even
language begins to develop BEFORE birth! As soon as your child
is born, he
or she begins to understand language. All that's missing is the
and the practice. Therefore, it is very important to talk to
your baby as
much as possible. Only by having a multitude of experiences with
can your child learn to "decode" the communications
of those around him or
her. Reading aloud to your baby provides not only the sound of
voice, but lots of examples of different styles of communication.
• Read Everything
Infants and young children respond well to rhythms and poetry,
but even if
you read a magazine article to your baby, you will be accomplishing
goal of exposure to language. When children are able to focus,
books that label objects. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy
stories and fairy tales. Older children will appreciate chapter
classics they do not yet have the independent skills to read
on their own.
Make friends with your local librarian; he or she has a wealth
• Snuggle Close
Children need close contact with adults for sound emotional development.
• Variety and Repetition
are Both Important
Young children are famous for wanting the same story over and
repetition helps them develop thinking, logic, and memory skills.
will help open new doors in your child's world and help him or
develop new interests and learning. BOTH are vital parts of reading
• Keep Reading
Don't stop reading to your children after they start school,
or even when
they learn to read alone! Just keep a step ahead of their present
level, so that you can introduce them to evermore exciting literature.
Older children may enjoy chapter books, and you may want to consider
reading a small portion of the book to them as a "teaser," then
child take over. If a book is not interesting to the child, there
is no law
that you have to finish it either. If it's one that is generally
as "good literature," you may want to try it again
in a few months or years.
Don't forget to allow your child time to express his or her opinion
the book, to try to predict what will happen next in the story,
recall what happened during the last reading session. These are
skills that your child needs to develop for success in school.
No matter what age your
child is, right now is a good time to read aloud!
Help him or her develop the skills needed to succeed in school
and in life.
is an educator, author and workshop facilitator. She resides
in southern Michigan with her husband and three daughters.
Sandy leads workshops for daycare providers and parents
in the region, tutors students, volunteers for Girl Scouts
and her church, and teaches online classes for adults and
children. She loves to make new friends, so please drop
her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org